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BIRDS    OF     AMERICA. 


Voi.  I. 


1 


<^ 


THE 


BIRDS  OF  AMERICA, 


FROM 


DRAWINGS  MADE   IN   THE   UNITED   STATES 


A 


AND  THEIR  TERRITORIES. 


BY  JOHN  JAMES  AUDUBON,  F.  R.  SS.  L.  &  E. 

Fellow  of  the  Linnean  and  Zoological  Societies  of  London;  Member  of  the  Lyceum  of  Natural  History 

of  New  York,  of  the  Natural  History  Society  of  Paris,  the  Wernerian  Natural  History  Society  of 

Edinburgh;  Honorary  Member  of  the  Society  of  Natural  History  of  Manchester,  and  of  the 

Royal  Scottish  Academy  of  Painting,  Sculpture,  and  Architecture;  Member  of 

the  American  Philosophical  Society,  of  the  Academy  of  Natural  Sciences 

at  Philadelphia,  of  the  Natural  History  Societies  of  Boston,  of 

Charleston  in  South  Carolina,  the  Quebec  Literary  and 

Historical  Society,  the  Ornithological  Society 

in  London,  the  Societe  Francaise  de 

Statistique  Universelle  de 

!•■  Paris,  &c.  &c. 


^vmf.sr,,:. 


Vol.    I . 


/ 


NEW  YORK: 
PUBLISHED  BY  J.  J.  AUDUBON. 

PHILADELPHIA: 

J.   B.    CHEVALIER. 

1840. 


Entered  according  to  the  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1839,  by  J.  J.  Audubon  and  J.  B.  Che- 
valier, in  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  District  Court  for  the  Eastern  District  of  Pennsylvania. 


^SVTHSO/v^ 


^SRARt 


E.  G.  DORSEY,  PRINTER. 
LIBRARY  STREET. 


L- 


CONTENTS. 


FAMILY  I.     VULTURIN.E.     VULTURINE  BIRDS. 

Genus  I.     Cathartes.     Turkey  Vulture.  - 


Californian  Vulture,    - 

Turkey  Vulture, 

Black  Vulture  or  Carrion  Crow, 


Cathartes  Calif  or  nianus, 


aura, 


atratus, 

FAMILY  II.     FALCONING.     FALCONINE  BIRDS. 

Genus  I.     Polyborus.     Caracara.        - 

Polyborus  Braziliensis, 
Genus  II.     Buteo.     Buzzard.        - 


Caracara  Eagle, 


Harris's  Buzzard,  - 
Common  Buzzard,  - 
Red-tailed  Buzzard,  - 
Harlan's  Buzzard,  - 
Red-shouldered  Buzzard,  - 
Broad-winged  Buzzard, 
Rough-legged  Buzzard, 

Genus  III.     Aquila.     Eagle. 

Golden  Eagle,    -         -         -         - 


Buteo  Hdrrisii, 
vulgaris, 
borealis, 
Harlani, 
lineatus, 
Pennsylvania^, 
lagopus, 


Jiquila  Chrysaelos, 
Genus  IV.     Haliaetus.     Sea  Eagle.  ... 

Haliaetus  Washingtoni, 


leiccocephalus, 


Washington  Sea  Eagle, 
White-headed  or  Bald  Eagle, 

Genus  V.     Pandion.  Osprey.      -'-'-- 

Fish  Hawk,  or  Osprey,        -  -         Pandion  Haliaetus, 

Genus  VI.     Elanus.  ------ 

Black-shouldered  Hawk,     -  -         Elanus  dispar,^ 


11 

11 

12 
15 
17 

21 

21 

21 

24 

25 
30 
32 
3S 
40 
43 
46 

49 

50 

52 

53 
57 

64 

64 

70 

70 


VI  CONTENTS. 

Genus  VII.  Ictinia.    ------ 

Mississippi  Kite,  -                            Ictinia  plumbeus, 

Genus  VIII.  Nauclerus.      Swallow-tailed  Hawk, 


Swallow-tailed  Hawk, 

Genus  IX.     Falco.     Falcon. 

Iceland  or  Jer  Falcon, 
Great-footed  Hawk,    -         -         - 
Pigeon  Hawk,    -"--.- 
American  Sparrow  Hawk, 

Genus  X.     Astur.     Hawk. 

Goshawk,  - 

Cooper's  Hawk,  - 

Sharp-shinned  or  Slate-coloured  Hawk, 

Genus  XI.     Circus.     Harrier. 

Marsh  Hawk,     -         -         -         - 


Nauclerus  furcatus, 


Falco  Islandicus,  - 
peregrinus, 
columb  arias, 
sparverius, 


Jlstur  palumbarius, 
Cooperi, 
fuscus, 


Circus  cyaneus, 


73 

73 

78 

7S 

81 

SI 
S4 
88 
90 

94 

95 

98 

100 

105 

105 


FAMILY  III.     STRIGIN^E.     OWLS. 


Ill 


Genus  I.     Surnia.     Day-Owl. 


Ill 


Hawk  Owl, 

Surnia  funerea, 

112 

Snowy  Owl, 

nyctea, 

113 

Little  Night  Owl, 

passerina, 

116 

Little  Columbian  Owl, 

passerinoides, 

117 

Burrowing  Owl, 

cunicularia, 

119 

Genus  II.     Ulula. 

Night-Owl.           - 

121 

Tengmalm's  Owl, 

Ulula  Tengmalmi, 

122 

Little  or  Acadian  Owl, 

acadica, 

123 

Genus  III.     Strix. 

Screech-Owl.       - 

126 

Barn  Owl, 

Strix  Americana, 

127 

Genus  IV.     Syrnium.     Hooting-Owl.            ... 

130 

Great  Cinereous  Owl, 

Syrnium  cinereum, 

130 

Barred  Owl, 

nebulosum, 

132 

Genus  V.     Otus. 

Eared-Owl.    -        -        -        -        - 

135 

CONTENTS.  vii 

Long-eared  Owl,         -                             Ot us  vulgaris,        -  136 

Short-eared  Owl,         -         -         -                   brachyotus,  -  -       140 

Genus  VI.     Bubo.     Horned-Owl. 143 

Great  Horned  Owl,    -                           Bubo  Virginianus,        -  -       143 

Little  Screech-Owl,    -         -         -                   Asio,    -  147 

FAMILY  IV.     CAPRIMULGIN^.     GOAT-SUCKERS.  -       150 

Genus  I.     Caprimulgus.     Goat-Sucker.       -         -         -  150 

Chuck- will's  Widow,           -         -         Caprimulgus  Car olinensis,  -       151 

Whip-poor-will,          -                                                      vociferus,  -       155 

Genus  II.     Chordeiles.     Night-Hawk.         -  158 

Night-Hawk,     -                                     Chordeiles  Virginianus,  -       159 

FAMILY  V.     CYPSELIN^S.     SWIFTS.        -        -        -  -       163 

Genus  I.     Choztura.     Spine-tail.         -         -         -         -  163 

Chimney  Swallow,  or  American  Swift,  Chaztura  pelasgia,          -  -       164 

FAMILY  VI.     HIRUNDINiE.     SWALLOWS.      -        -  -       169 

Genus  I.     Hirundo.     Swallow.    -         -         -         -         -  -170 


Purple  Martin,  - 

Hirundo  purpurea, 

170 

White-bellied  Swallow, 

bicolor,    - 

-       175 

Republican  or  Cliff  Swallow, 

fulva, 

177 

Barn  Swallow,             - 

rustica,  - 

181 

Violet-green  Swallow, 

thalassina, 

186 

Bank  Swallow  or  Sand  Martin, 

riparia, 

187 

Rough-winged  Swallow, 

Serripennis,     - 

193 

FAMILY  VII.     MUSCICAPIN^E.     FLYCATCHERS.  -  195 

Genus  I.     Milvulus.     Swallow-tail.           -        -        -  -  195 

Forked-tailed  Flycatcher,   -         -         Milvulus  tyrannus,        -  -  196 

Swallow-tailed  Flycatcher,           -                          forficatus,       -  -  197 

Genus  II.     Muscicapa.     Flycatcher.          -        -        -  -  19S 

Arkansaw  Flycatcher,         -         -         Muscicapa  verticalis,     -  -  199 

Pipiry  Flycatcher,      -         -         -                             dominicensis,  -  201 


Vlll 

Tyrant  Flycatcher,  King  Bird 

Great  Crested  Flycatcher,  - 

Cooper's    Flycatcher — Olive-sided 
Flycatcher,     - 

Say's  Flycatcher, 

Rocky  Mountain  Flycatcher, 

Short-legged  Pewit  Flycatcher, 

Small  Green-crested  Flycatcher 

Pewee  Flycatcher, 

Wood  Pewee  Flycatcher,   - 

Traill's  Flycatcher,    - 

Least  Pewee  Flycatcher,    - 

Small-headed  Flycatcher,    - 

American  Redstart,    - 

Genus  III.  Ptilogonys. 
Townsend's  Ptilogonys, 

Genus  IV.  Culicivora. 
Blue-grey  Flycatcher, 


CONTENTS. 

Muscicapa  tyr annus,     - 

204 

- 

crinila, 

209 

led    ) 

Cooperi, 

-        212 

- 

Saya,  - 

217 

- 

nigricans,    - 

218 

i 

Phoebe, 

219 

j 

acadica, 

221 

- 

fusca,  - 

223 

- 

virens, 

231 

- 

Trail  Hi, 

234 

- 

pusilla, 

236 

- 

ininuta, 

238 

- 

Ruticilla,     - 

240 

- 

- 

-       243 

Ptilogonys  Toivnsendi, 

243 

Gnat-catcher 

. 

-       244 

Culicivora 

:  ccerulea, 

244 

INTRODUCTION. 


Having  been  frequently  asked,  for  several  years  past,  by 
numerous  friends  of  science,  both  in  America  and  Europe,  to 
present  to  them  and  to  the  public  a  work  on  the  Ornithology  of 
our  country,  similar  to  my  large  work,  but  of  such  dimensions, 
and  at  such  price,  as  would  enable  every  student  or  lover  of  nature 
to  place  it  in  his  Library,  and  look  upon  it  during  his  leisure  hours 
as  a  pleasing  companion — I  have  undertaken  the  task  with  the 
hope  that  those  good  friends  and  the  public  will  receive  the 
"Birds  of  America,"  in  their  present  miniature  form,  with  that 
favour  and  kindness  they  have  already  evinced  toward  one  who 
never  can  cease  to  admire  and  to  study  with  zeal  and  the  most 
heartfelt  reverence,  the  wonderful  productions  of  an  Almighty 
Creator. 

J.  J.  AUDUBON. 

New  York,  Nov.  1839. 


Vol.  I. 


N°i 


PI  1 


r  ~ 


C  alifoxnian  Tx.it leery     "Viol-tare 


i  Audubcn.rRS.F-L.: 


Lith'ffnr.i.-J  S-l  .J't  v.l    ni...       I'.}- 


CALIFORNIAN  VULTURE.  13 

In  a  subsequent  notice,  he  continues: — "I  have  never  seen  the  eggs  of  the 
Californian  Vulture.  The  Indians  of  the  Columbia  say  that  it  breeds  on  the 
ground,  fixing  its  nest  in  swamps  under  the  pine  forests,  chiefly  in  the  Alpine 
country.  The  Wallammet  Mountains,  seventy  or  eighty  miles  south  of  the 
Columbia,  are  said  to  be  its  favourite  places  of  resort.  I  have  never  visited 
the  mountains  at  that  season,  and  therefore  cannot  speak  from  my  own 
knowledge.  It  is  seen  on  the  Columbia  only  in  summer,  appearing  about 
the  first  of  June,  and  retiring,  probably  to  the  mountains,  about  the  end  of 
August.  It  is  particularly  attached  to  the  vicinity  of  cascades  and  falls,  being 
attracted  by  the  dead  salmon  which  strew  the  shores  in  such  places.  The 
salmon,  in  their  attempts  to  leap  over  the  obstruction,  become  exhausted,  and 
are  cast  up  on  the  beaches  in  great  numbers.  Thither,  therefore,  resort  all 
the  unclean  birds  of  the  country,  such  as  the  present  species,  the  Turkey- 
Buzzard,  and  the  Raven.  The  Californian  Vulture  cannot,  however,  be 
called  a  plentiful  species,  as  even  in  the  situations  mentioned  it  is  rare  to  see 
more  than  two  or  three  at  a  time,  and  these  so  shy  as  not  to  allow  an  approach 
to  within  a  hundred  yards,  unless  by  stratagem.  Although  I  have  fre- 
quently seen  this  bird  I  have  never  heard  it  utter  any  sound.  The  eggs  I 
have  never  seen,  nor  have  I  had  any  account  of  them  that  I  could  depend 
upon. 

"I  have  never  heard  of  their  attacking  living  animals.  Their  food  while 
on  the  Columbia  is  fish  almost  exclusively,  as  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the 
rapids  and  falls  it  is  always  in  abundance;  they  also,  like  other  Vultures, 
feed  on  dead  animals.  I  once  saw  two  near  Fort  Vancouver  feeding  on  the 
carcass  of  a  pig  that  had  died.  I  have  not  seen  them  at  roost.  In  walking 
they  resemble  a  Turkey,  strutting  over  the  ground  with  great  dignity;  but 
this  dignity  is  occasionally  lost  sight  of,  especially  when  two  are  striving  to 
reach  a  dead  fish,  which  has  just  been  cast  on  the  shore;  the  stately  walk 
then  degenerates  into  a  clumsy  sort  of  hopping  canter,  which  is  any  thing 
but  graceful.  When  about  to  rise,  they  always  hop  or  run  for  several  yards, 
in  order  to  give  an  impetus  to  their  heavy  body,  in  this  resembling  the 
Condor  of  South  America,  whose  well  known  habit  furnishes  the  natives 
with  an  easy  mode  of  capturing  him  by  means  of  a  narrow  pen,  in  which  a 
dead  carcass  has  been  deposited.  If  I  should  return  to  the  Columbia,  I  will 
try  this  method  of  taking  the  Vulture,  and  I  am  satisfied  that  it  would  be 
successful." 

Cathartes  californianus,  Aud.  Birds  of  Am.,  pi.  426;  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  v.  p.  240. 
Cathartes  californianus,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  22. 
Californian  Vulture,  Nuttall,  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  39. 

The  head  and  upper  part  of  the  neck  are  bare,  but  the  middle  of  the  fore- 


14  CALIFORNIAN  VULTURE. 

head  to  beyond  the  nostrils,  and  a  semicircular  space  before  the  eye,  are 
closely  covered  with  very  small  firm  feathers;  the  fore  part  of  the  neck  is 
longitudinally,  the  occiput  and  hind  neck  transversely  wrinkled.  Plumage 
full,  compact;  feathers  of  the  ruff  and  fore  part  of  the  breast  lanceolate  and 
acuminate,  of  the  upper  parts  ovato-elliptical,  broadly  rounded,  and  glossy. 
Wings  very  long,  ample,  concave;  primaries  finely  acuminate,  secondaries 
rounded;  the  first  quill  two  inches  and  a  half  shorter  than  the  second,  which 
is  half  an  inch  shorter  than  the  third,  the  latter  exceeded  by  the  fourth  by 
half  an  inch,  and  equal  to  the  fifth.  Tail  of  moderate  length,  nearly  even, 
of  twelve  broad,  rounded  feathers. 

The  horny  part  of  the  bill  yellow;  the  cere  and  naked  part  of  the  head 
and  neck  yellowish-red.  Iris  dark  hazel.  Feet  yellowish-grey,  claws 
brownish-black.  The  general  colour  of  the  plumage  is  greyish-black,  the 
feathers  of  the  upper  parts  narrowly  margined  with  light  brown  and  grey; 
the  secondaries  light  grey  externally,  as  are  the  edges  of  the  primaries;  the 
margins  of  the  inner  secondaries  toward  the  base,  and  those  of  the  secondary 
coverts,  with  a  large  portion  of  the  extremity  of  the  latter,  are  white.  The 
feathers  on  the  sides  under  the  wing,  the  axillaries,  and  many  of  the  lower 
wing-coverts,  are  white. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  55  inches;  bill  along  the  ridge  4|-,  along  the  edge  of 
lower  mandible  3^;  wing  from  flexure  34;  tail  16;  tarsus  4j;  hind  toe  l^f, 
its  claw  li;  second  toe  2\,  its  claw  1||;  third  toe  4i,  its  claw  2;  fourth  toe 
2T92,  its  claw  1T42. 

The  young  have  the  horny  part  of  the  bill  dusky  yellowish-grey;  the 
head  and  neck  covered  with  dull  brown  very  soft  down;  the  feet  greyish- 
yellow,  the  scutella  darker,  the  claws  brownish-black.  The  general  colour 
of  the  plumage  is  blackish-brown,  the  feathers  on  the  upper  part  strongly 
tinged  with  grey,  especially  the  secondary  quills;  the  feathers  of  the  back 
edged  with  light  brown,  the  secondary  coverts  tipped  with  brownish-white. 
The  feathers  on  the  sides  under  the  wing,  the  axillaries,  and  some  of  the 
lower  wing-coverts  white,  with  the  centre  dusky. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  4S  inches;  bill  along  the  ridge  4;  wing  from  flexure 
32;  tail  16;  tarsus  4;  middle  toe  4,  its  claw  1-,%. 


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BLACK  VULTURE,  OR  CARRION  CROW.  19 

they  not  unfrequently  remain  the  whole  day  on  the  roost;   but  when  it  is 
fine,  they  reach  the  city  every  morning  by  the  first  glimpse  of  day. 

The  flight  of  this  species,  although  laboured,  is  powerful  and  protracted. 
Before  rising  from  the  ground  they  are  obliged  to  take  several  leaps,  which 
they  do  in  an  awkward  sidelong  manner.  Their  flight  is  continued  by 
flappings,  repeated  eight  or  ten  times,  alternating  with  sailings  of  from  thirty 
to  fifty  3'ards.  The  wings  are  disposed  at  right  angles  to  the  body,  and  the 
feet  protrude  beyond  the  tail,  so  as  to  be  easily  seen.  In  calm  weather  they 
may  be  heard  passing  over  you  at  the  height  of  forty  or  fifty  yards,  so  great 
is  the  force  with  which  they  beat  the  air.  When  about  to  alight,  they  allow 
their  legs  to  dangle  beneath,  the  better  to  enable  them  to  alight. 

They  feed  on  all  sorts  of  flesh,  fresh  or  putrid,  whether  of  quadrupeds  or 
birds,  as  well  as  on  fish.  I  saw  a  great  number  of  them  eating  a  dead  shark 
near  the  wharf  at  St.  Augustine  in  East  Florida;  and  I  observed  them  many 
times  devouring  young  cormorants  and  herons  in  the  nest,  on  the  keys 
bordering  that  peninsula. 

The  Carrion  Crow  and  Turkey-Buzzard  possess  great  power  of  recollection, 
so  as  to  recognise  at  a  great  distance  a  person  who  has  shot  at  them,  and 
even  the  horse  on  which  he  rides.  On  several  occasions  I  have  observed 
that  they  would  fly  off  at  my  approach,  after  I  had  trapped  several,  when 
they  took  no  notice  of  other  individuals;  and  they  avoided  my  horse  in  the 
pastures,  after  I  had  made  use  of  him  to  approach  and  shoot  them. 

At  the  commencement  of  the  love  season,  which  is  about  the  beginning  of 
February,  the  gesticulation  and  parade  of  the  males  are  extremely  ludicrous. 
They  first  strut  somewhat  in  the  manner  of  the  Turkey  Cock,  then  open 
their  wings,  and,  as  they  approach  the  female,  lower  their  head,  its  wrinkled 
skin  becoming  loosened,  so  as  entirely  to  cover  the  bill,  and  emit  a  puffing 
sound,  which  is  by  no  means  musical.  When  these  actions  have  been  repeat- 
ed five  or  six  times,  and  the  conjugal  compact  sealed,  the  "happy  pair"  fly 
off,  and  remain  together  until  their  young  come  abroad.  These  birds  form 
no  nest,  and  consequently  never  breed  on  trees;  the  hollow  of  a  prostrate 
log,  or  the  excavation  of  a  bank  of  earth,  suffices  for  them.  They  never  lay 
more  than  two  eggs,  which  are  deposited  on  the  bare  ground;  they  are  about 
three  inches  in  length,  rather  pointed  at  the  smaller  end,  thick  in  the  shell, 
with  a  pure  white  ground,  marked  towards  the  greater  ends  with  large  ir- 
regular dashes  of  black  and  dark  brown.  Twenty-one  days  are  required  for 
hatching  them.  The  male  and  female  sit  by  turns,  and  feed  each  other. 
The  young  are  at  first  covered  with  a  light  cream-coloured  down,  and  have 
an  extremely  uncouth  appearance.  They  are  fed  by  regurgitation,  almost 
in  the  same  manner  as  pigeons,  and  are  abundantly  supplied  with  food. 
When  fledged,  which  is  commonly  about  the  beginning  of  June,  they  follow 


20  BLACK  VULTURE,  OR  CARRION  CROW. 

their  parents  through  the  woods.  At  this  period,  their  head  is  covered  with 
feathers  to  the  very  mandibles.  The  plumage  of  this  part  gradually  disap- 
pears, and  the  skin  becomes  wrinkled;  but  they  are  not  in  full  plumage  till 
the  second  year.  During  the  breeding  season,  they  frequent  the  cities  less, 
those  remaining  at  that  time  being  barren  birds,  of  which  there  appear  to  be 
a  good  number.  I  believe  that  the  individuals  which  are  no  longer  capable 
of  breeding,  spend  all  their  time  in  and  about  the  cities,  and  roost  on  the 
roofs  and  chimneys.  They  go  out,  in  company  with  the  Turkey-Buzzards, 
to  the  yards  of  the  hospitals  and  asylums,  to  feed  on  the  remains  of  the 
provisions  cooked  there,  which  are  as  regularly  thrown  out  to  them. 

I  have  represented  a  pair  of  Carrion  Crows  or  Black  Vultures  in  full 
plumage,  engaged  with  the  head  of  our  Common  Deer,  the  Cervus  virgi- 
nianus. 

Black  Vulture  or  Carrion  Crow,  Vultur  atratus,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  ix.  p.  104. 

Cathartes  Iota,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  23. 

Black  Vulture  or  Carrion  Crow,  Cathartes  Iota,  Nuttall,  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  46. 

Black  Vulture  or  Carrion  Crow,  Aud.,  vol.  ii.  p.  33;  vol.  v.  p.  345. 

Cathartes  atratus,  Black  Vulture,  Swains.  &  Rich.,  F.  Bor.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  6. 

Adult  Male. 

Bill  elongated,  rather  stout,  straight  at  the  base,  slightly  compressed;  the 
upper  mandible  covered  to  the  middle  by  the  cere,  broad,  curved,  and  acute 
at  the  end,  the  edge  doubly  undulated.  Nostrils  medial,  approximate,  linear, 
pervious.  Head  elongated,  neck  longish,  body  robust.  Feet  strong;  tarsus 
roundish,  covered  with  small  rhomboidal  scales;  toes  scutellate  above,  the 
middle  one  much  longer,  the  lateral  nearly  equal,  second  and  third  united  at 
the  base  by  a  web.     Claws  arched,  strong,  rather  obtuse. 

Plumage  rather  compact,  with  ordinary  lustre.  The  head  and  upper  part 
of  the  neck  are  destitute  of  feathers,  having  a  black,  rugose,  carunculated 
skin,  sparsely  covered  with  short  hairs,  and  downy  behind.  Wings  ample, 
long,  the  first  quill  rather  short,  third  and  fourth  longest.  Tail  longish, 
even,  or  very  slightly  emarginated  at  the  end,  of  twelve  broad,  straight 
feathers. 

Bill  greyish-yellow  at  the  end,  dusky  at  the  base,  as  is  the  corrugated  skin 
of  the  head  and  neck.  Iris  reddish-brown.  Feet  yellowish-grey;  claws 
black.  The  general  colour  of  the  plumage  is  dull-black,  slightly  glossed 
with  blue;  the  primary  quills  light  brownish  on  the  inside. 

Length  26  inches;  extent  of  wings  54;  bill  2i;  tarsus  S\;  middle  toe  4. 

Adult  Female. 

The  female  resemble?  the  male  in  external  appearance,  and  is  rather  less. 


N°l 


PI  4 


C  a  racara  E  a^le 


!*>  !\\«1    ''r  '«   II      \   ■ 


Lj"tl^|#ni#in|  *  Col    i-vj  i  •:,-...„  l-h.f- 


THE  CARACARA  EAGLE.  23 

in  the  colours  of  the  bill,  legs,  eyes,  and  even  the  plumage  of  birds,  when 
looking  on  imitations  which  I  was  aware  were  taken  from  stuffed  specimens, 
and  which  I  well  knew  could  not  be  accurate!  The  skin,  when  the  bird 
was  quite  recent,  was  of  a  bright  yellow.  The  bird  was  extremely  lousy. 
Its  stomach  contained  the  remains  of  a  bullfrog,  numerous  hard-shelled 
worms,  and  a  quantity  of  horse  and  deer-hair.  The  skin  was  saved  with 
great  difficulty,  and  its  plumage  had  entirely  lost  its  original  lightness  of 
colouring.  The  deep  red  of  the  fleshy  parts  of  the  head  had  assumed  a 
purplish  livid  hue,  and  the  spoil  scarcely  resembled  the  coat  of  the  living 
Eagle. 

I  made  a  double  drawing  of  this  individual,  for  the  purpose  of  shewing  all 
its  feathers,  which  I  hope  will  be  found  to  be  accurately  represented. 

Since  the  period  when  I  obtained  the  specimen  above  mentioned,  I  have 
seen  several  others,  in  which  no  remarkable  differences  were  observed  between 
the  sexes,  or  in  the  general  colouring.  My  friend  Dr.  Benjamin  Strobel, 
of  Charleston,  South  Carolina,  who  has  resided  on  the  west  coast  of  Florida, 
procured  several  individuals  for  the  Reverend  John  Bachman,  and  informed 
me  that  the  species  undoubtedly  breeds  in  that  part  of  the  country,  but  I 
have  never  seen  its  nest.  It  has  never  been  seen  on  any  of  the  Keys  along 
the  eastern  coast  of  that  peninsula;  and  I  am  not  aware  that  it  has  been 
observed  any  where  to  the  eastward  of  the  Capes  of  Florida. 

The  most  remarkable  difference  with  respect  to  habits,  between  these  birds 
and  the  American  Vultures,  is  the  power  which  they  possess  of  carrying 
their  prey  in  their  talons.  They  often  walk  about,  and  in  the  water,  in 
search  of  food,  and  now  and  then  will  seize  on  a  frog  or  a  very  young  alli- 
gator with  their  claws,  and  drag  it  to  the  shore.  Like  the  Vultures,  they 
frequently  spread  their  wings  towards  the  sun,  or  in  the  breeze,  and  their 
mode  of  walking  also  resembles  that  of  the  Turkey-Buzzard. 

Caracara  Eagle,  Polyborus  vulgaris,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  ii.  p.  350;  vol.  v.  p.  351. 

Adult  Male. 

Bill  rather  long,  very  deep,  much  compressed,  cerate  for  one-half  of  its 
length;  upper  mandible  with  the  dorsal  outline  nearly  straight,  but  declinate 
for  half  its  length,  curved  in  the  remaining  part,  the  ridge  narrow,  the  sides 
flat  and  sloping,  the  sharp  edges  slightly  undulated,  the  tip  declinate,  trigonal; 
lower  mandible  with  the  sides  nearly  erect,  the  back  rounded,  the  tip  narrow, 
and  obliquely  rounded.  Nostrils  oblong,  oblique,  in  the  fore  and  upper  parts 
of  the  cere.  Head  of  moderate  size,  flattened;  neck  rather  short,  body  rather 
slender.  Feet  rather  long  and  slender;  tarsus  rounded,  covered  all  round 
with  hexagonal  scales,  the  anterior  much  larger,  and  the  five  lower  broad 


24  THE  CARACARA  EAGLE. 

and  transverse;  toes  of  moderate  size,  scutellate  above,  the  inner  scaly  at  the 
base;  the  outer  is  connected  with  the  middle  toe  at  the  base  by  a  web,  as  is 
the  inner,  although  its  web  is  smaller;  lateral  toes  equal,  middle  one  con- 
siderably longer,  hind  toe  shortest,  and  not  proportionally  stronger;  claws 
long,  arched,  roundish,  tapering  to  a  point. 

Plumage  compact,  slightly  glossed.  Upper  eyelid  with  short  strong 
bristles;  space  before  the  eye,  cheeks,  throat  and  cere  of  both  mandibles 
bare,  having  merely  a  few  scattered  bristly  feathers.  Feathers  of  the  head, 
neck  and  breast  narrow;  of  the  back  broad  and  rounded;  outer  tibial  feathers 
elongated,  but  shorter  than  in  most  Hawks.  Wings  long,  reaching  to  within 
two  inches  of  the  tip  of  the  tail;  primaries  tapering,  secondaries  broad  and 
rounded,  with  an  acumen;  the  fourth  quill  longest,  third  scarcely  shorter, 
first  and  seventh  about  equal;  almost  all  the  primaries  are  more  or  less  sinuate 
on  their  inner  webs,  and  the  second,  third,  fourth,  fifth  and  sixth  on  their 
outer.  Tail  long,  rounded,  of  twelve  broadish,  rounded  feathers.  There  is 
a  large  bare  space  on  the  breast,  as  in  the  Turkey-Buzzard. 

Bill  pale  blue,  yellow  on  the  edges,  cere  carmine.  Iris  dark-brown. 
Feet  yellow;  claws  black.  Upper  part  of  the  head  umber-brown,  streaked 
with  brownish-black.  Feathers  of  hind-neck  and  fore  part  of  the  back  light 
brownish-yellow,  mottled  with  dark  brown  towards  the  end.  Back  and 
wings  dark  brown,  edged  with  umber.  Primaries  and  some  of  the  seconda- 
ries barred  with  broad  bands  of  white,  excepting  towards  the  end.  Tail 
coverts  dull-white,  slightly  barred  with  dusky.  Tail  greyish-white,  with 
sixteen  narrow  bars,  and  a  broad  terminal  band  of  blackish-brown,  the  tips 
lighter.  Fore  part  and  sides  of  the  neck  light  brownish-yellow;  the  fore 
part  of  the  breast  marked  like  that  of  the  back,  the  yellow  colour  extending 
over  the  lateral  part  of  the  neck;  the  hind  part,  abdomen,  sides,  and  tibia 
dark  brown;  the  lower  tail-coverts  yellowish-white.  Interior  of  mouth  and 
skin  of  the  whole  body  bright  yellow. 

Length  23^  inches;  extent  of  wings  4  feet;  bill  along  the  ridge  2\,  the 
cere  being  1,  along  the  edge  2\;  tarsus  3^,  middle  toe  and  claw  3^. 


Gexus  II.— BUTEO,  Bechst.     BUZZARD. 

Bill  short,  with  the  upper  outline  nearly  straight  and  declinate  to  the  edge 
of  the  cere,  then  decurved,  the  sides  rapidly  sloping,  the  edges  with  a  slight 
festoon,  the  tip  trigonal,  acute;  lower  mandible  with  the  dorsal  line  convex 
and  ascending,  the  edges  arched,  at  the  end  deflected,  the  tip  rounded.  Head 
large,  roundish,  flattened  above.     Nostrils  obovate,  nearer  the  ridge  than  the 


N°l 


PI  5 


Si    .. 


Bx 


HARRIS'S  BUZZARD.  27 

treraely  graceful,  light,  buoyant,  and  protracted  beyond  that  of  most  other 
hawks.  They  are,  however,  devoid  of  the  power  of  swooping  on  their 
quarry,  which  they  procure  by  semicircular  glidings  of  greater  or  less  extent, 
according  to  the  situation  or  nature  of  the  place,  over  the  land  or  the  water, 
on  the  branches  or  trunks  of  trees,  or  even  through  the  air,  while  in  the 
latter  they  are  wont  to  secure  large  coleopterous  insects.  These  species  are 
provided  with  short,  strong  tarsi,  are  scarcely  able  to  walk  with  ease,  wander 
to  great  distances,  and  possess  very  little  courage. 

After  these  long-winged  fork-tailed  hawks,  comes  the  Marsh  Hawk,  Falco 
cyaneus,  which,  by  its  easy  manner  of  flying,  it  being  supported  by  ample 
wings  and  tail,  is  in  some  degree  allied  to  them,  though  it  is  by  no  means  a 
bird  of  rapid  flight,  but  one  which  procures  its  food  by  patient  industry,  and 
sometimes  by  surprising  its  prey.  Its  style  of  chase  is  very  inferior  to  that 
of  those  species  which  I  consider  as  not  only  the  swiftest,  but  the  most  ex- 
pert, active,  and  persevering  marauders.  The  Marsh  Hawk  is  connected 
with  these  by  its  long  and  slender  tail,  and  also  by  its  propensity  to  wander 
over  vast  tracts  of  country.  It  may  be  said  to  swoop  or  to  glide  in  procuring 
its  prey,  which  consists  both  of  birds  and  small  quadrupeds,  as  well  as  insects, 
some  of  the  latter  of  which  it  even  seizes  on  wing. 

Taking  somewhat  into  consideration  the  usual  low  flight  of  the  latter 
species,  I  feel  induced  to  place  next  it  the  very  swiftest  of  our  Hawks,  as  I 
am  convinced  you  would  consider  them,  had  you  witnessed,  like  me,  their 
manners  for  many  successive  years.  These  are  the  Goshawk,  F.  palum- 
barius,  Cooper's  Hawk,  F.  Coopcri,  the  Pigeon  Hawk,  F.  columbarius, 
and  the  Sharp-shinned  Hawk,  F.  fuscus.  Though  their  wings  are  compara- 
tively short,  somewhat  rounded,  and  rather  concave,  they  have  longer  bodies 
and  larger  tails  than  any  other  of  our  hawks.  The  tail  is  used  as  a  rudder, 
and  appears  most  effectually  to  aid  them  in  their  progress  on  wing.  None 
of  these  birds  ever  pounce  on  their  prey,  but  secure  it  by  actual  pursuit  on 
wing.  Industrious  in  the  highest  degree,  they  all  hunt  for  game,  instead  of 
remaining  perched  on  a  rocky  eminence,  or  on  the  top  branch  of  a  tall  tree, 
waiting  the  passing  or  appearance  of  some  object.  They  traverse  the  coun- 
try in  every  direction,  and  dash  headlong  in  the  wildest  manner,  until  their 
game  being  up  they  follow  it  with  the  swiftness  of  an  arrow,  overtake  it, 
strike  it  to  the  ground  with  wonderful  force,  and  at  once  fall  to,  and  devour 
it.  Although  the  flight  of  our  Passenger  Pigeon  is  rapid  and  protracted 
almost  beyond  belief,  aided  as  this  bird  is  by  rather  long  and  sharp  wings,  as 
well  as  an  elongated  tail,  and  sustained  by  well  regulated  beats,  that  of  the 
Goshawk  or  of  the  other  species  of  this  group  so  very  far  surpasses  it,  that 
they  can  overtake  it  with  as  much  ease  as  that  with  which  the  pike  seizes 
a  carp.     I  have  often  thought  that  the  comparatively  long  tarsi  of  these 


2S  HARRIS'S  BUZZARD. 

Hawks,  as  well  as  their  elongated  and  padded  toes,  are  of  considerable  assist- 
ance in  securing  their  prey  on  wing,  as  they  throw  these  members  to  the 
right  and  left,  upward  or  downward,  when  about  to  come  into  contact  with 
the  object  of  their  pursuit.  In  boldness  and  ferocity  they  probably  surpass 
all  other  birds  of  prey. 

The  next  race  is  composed  of  the  species  called  "True  Falcons,"  of  which 
we  have  the  Jer  Falcon,  Falco  Islandicus,  the  Peregrine  Falcon,  F.  Pere- 
grinus,  the  Pigeon  Hawk,  F.  Columbarius,  and  the  Sparrow  Hawk,  F. 
Sparverius.  These  birds  are  probably  the  most  highly  organized  of  the 
series.  Their  wings  are  pointed  and  somewhat  broad;  their  tail  is  not  only 
considerably  elongated,  but  has  a  firmness  and  elasticity  not  seen  in  that  of 
the  other  species.  While  in  Eagles  and  other  sluggish  birds  of  prey,  the 
motions  of  the  wings  are  slow,  in  the  species  now  under  consideration  they 
are  strong  and  quickly  repeated.  They  moreover  possess  the  power  of 
swooping  in  a  higher  degree  than  even  the  Eagles,  for  although  much  smaller 
birds,  they  are  if  any  thing  still  more  compactly  formed,  whilst  they  are  at 
the  same  time  endowed  with  at  least  a  fair  power  of  flight,  so  that  they  give 
chase  to  the  swiftest  birds,  and  not  unfrequently  overtake  and  destroy  them. 
In  their  migrations  they  differ  from  the  slow-flying  species,  which  seldom 
remove  far  from  the  place  of  their  birth,  for  they  appear  to  delight  in  follow- 
ing the  myriads  of  the  feathered  tribes  from  which  they  have  derived  their 
subsistence  during  summer  in  the  northern  regions,  to  those  southern  coun- 
tries in  which  they  are  sure  of  obtaining  an  ample  supply,  each  species 
pursuing  those  on  which  it  more  usually  preys.  Thus,  some,  as  the  Pere- 
grine Falcon,  will  remove  as  far  as  the  confines  of  Mexico  or  the  extreme 
portions  of  California.  The  Jer  Falcon,  which  mostly  feeds  on  hares  and 
grous,  belonging  to  northern  countries,  and  which  of  course  migrate  south- 
ward to  a  very  short  extent,  rarely  advances  far;  while  the  Pigeon  Hawk,  as 
daring  as  the  Peregrine,  follows  the  Red-wings,  Rice  Birds,  and  other  small 
migratory  species,  with  a  pertinacity  not  in  the  least  surpassed  by  that  of  the 
Peregrine  Falcon  itself. 

The  group  of  our  American  birds  of  prey  of  which  the  species  differ  most 
strikingly  from  the  rest,  contains  the  Bird  of  Washington,  Falco  Washing- 
tonii,  the  White-headed  Eagle,  F.  leacocephalus,  and  the  Fishing  Hawk  or 
Osprey,  F.  Ossifragus.  Looking  upon  these  three  species  as  more  or  less 
connected  in  respect  to  their  general  habits,  while  each  of  them  differs  from 
the  rest,  I  hope  you  will  excuse  me,  reader,  if  I  now  take  a  glance  at  them 
separately.  He  who  generalizes  at  random  might  perhaps  be  induced  to 
compare  the  Fishing  Hawk  to  nothing  else  than  a  very  large  and  clumsy 
Tern,  for  like  most  birds  of  that  group,  it  is  known  to  range  in  a  desultory 
manner  over  the  waters  of  our  bays  and  estuaries,  and  along  the  shores  of 


HARRIS'S  BUZZARD.  99 

the  Atlantic  and  Pacific  Oceans.  It  poises  itself  awhile  on  spying  its  prey- 
just  beneath  the  surface  of  the  water,  glides  or  plunges  headlong  upon  it,  and 
thus  secures  it  at  once,  or  experiences  the  same  disappointment  that  Terns 
themselves  do  on  many  occasions.  It  is  true,  however,  that  the  Fishing 
Hawk  does  not,  Tern-like,  secure  its  finny  prey  with  its  bill;  but  what  of 
that,  if  it  plunges  into  the  deep  and  seizes  its  quarry  there?  The  Bird  of 
Washington  which  is  also  a  fishing  Eagle,  glides  over  its  prey,  and  seizes  it 
mostly  in  the  manner  exhibited  by  Gulls.  The  White-headed  Eagle,  which, 
as  I  have  told  you  before,  also  dives  after  fish  on  some  occasions,  and  pursues 
the  smaller  kinds  in  shallow  water  by  wading  after  them,  will  also  attack 
birds  and  quadrupeds  of  various  species,  and  thus  may  be  looked  upon  as  one 
of  the  most  singularly  gifted  of  our  diurnal  birds  of  prey. 

The  species  now  before  you  belongs  to  the  group  of  what  may  be  called 
indolent  or  heavy-flying  Hawks.  The  specimen  from  which  I  made  my 
drawing,  was  procured  by  a  gentleman  residing  in  Louisiana,  who  shot  it 
between  Bayou  Sara  and  Natchez.  A  label  attached  to  one  of  its  legs 
authorizes  me  to  say  that  it  was  a  female;  but  I  have  received  no  information 
respecting  its  habits;  nor  can  I  at  present  give  you  the  name  of  the  donor, 
however  anxious  I  am  to  compliment  him  upon  the  valuable  addition  he  has 
made  to  our  Fauna,  by  thus  enabling  me  to  describe  and  portray  it.  I  have 
much  pleasure  in  naming  it  after  my  friend  Edward  Harris,  Esq.,  a  gentle- 
man who,  independently  of  the  aid  which  he  has  on  many  occasions  afforded 
me,  in  prosecuting  my  examination  of  our  birds,  merits  this  compliment  as 
an  enthusiastic  Ornithologist. 

Buteo  Harrisii,  Aud.,  Birds  of  America,  pi.  392;  Ornithol.  Biog.,  vol.  v.  p.  30. 

Adult  Female. 

Bill  short,  robust,  as  broad  as  high  at  the  base,  compressed  toward  the 
end;  upper  mandible  with  its  dorsal  outline  sloping  a  little  at  the  base,  then 
decurved,  the  sides  nearly  flat,  the  edge  with  a  slight  festoon,  the  tip  pro- 
longed, trigonal,  descending,  acute;  lower  mandible  with  the  angle  rather 
long  and  wide,  the  dorsal  line  convex,  the  edge  decurved  toward  the  end, 
the  tip  obtuse.     Nostrils  rather  large,  ovate,  oblong,  oblique. 

Head  large,  ovate,  flattened  above,  with  the  superciliary  ridges  projecting. 
Neck  of  moderate  length;  body  full.  Feet  of  ordinary  length,  very  robust; 
tarsus  strong,  roundish,  feathered  anteriorly  for  somewhat  more  than  a  third, 
and  having  thirteen  scutella,  covered  behind  with  sixteen  scutella,  reticulated 
on  the  sides  and  at  the  lower  part;  toes  strong,  of  moderate  length,  the  first 
and  second  thickest,  and  nearly  equal;  the  first  with  four,  the  second  with 
five,  the  third  with  eight,  the  fourth  with  six  entire  scutella,  the  parts 

Vol.  I.  4 


30  COMMON  BUZZARD. 

toward  the  base  with  transverse  series  of  rectangular  scales;  claws  long,  stout, 
arched,  moderately  compressed,  flat  beneath,  tapering  to  a  very  acute  point; 
the  inner  edge  of  that  of  the  middle  toe  sharp. 

Plumage  rather  compact,  the  feathers  broadly  ovate  and  rounded;  the 
space  between  the  bill  and  the  eye  covered  with  small  bristle-pointed 
feathers;  the  feathers  on  the  outer  side  of  the  leg  not  much  elongated. 
Wings  long,  broad,  much  rounded;  the  first  quill  four  inches  shorter  than 
the  fourth,  which  is  longest,  the  fifth  longer  than  the  third,  and  the  seventh 
longer  than  the  second;  the  first  four  having  the  inner  web  cut  out;  secon- 
daries broad  and  rounded.  Tail  long,  broad,  slightly  rounded,  the  lateral 
feathers  three-quarters  of  an  inch  shorter  than  the  longest. 

Bill  light  blue  at  the  base,  black  toward  the  end;  cere  and  feet  yellow; 
claws  black.  The  general  colour  of  the  plumage  is  deep  chocolate-brown; 
the  quills  darker;  the  upper  and  lower  wing-coverts  and  the  feathers  of  the 
legs  brownish-red,  the  wing-coverts  with  a  central  dusky  streak,  which  is 
enlarged  on  those  toward  the  edge  beyond  the  carpal  joint,  and  on  the  secon- 
dary coverts,  so  as  to  leave  only  the  margins  red.  The  feathers  of  the  rump 
are  faintly  margined  with  red,  and  the  upper  tail-coverts  are  barred  and 
tipped  with  white.  The  tail  is  brownish-black,  with  two  broad  bands  of 
while,  the  one  at  the  base,  the  other  terminal. 

Length  to  end  of  tail  24  inches;  bill  along  the  ridge  1-J-f;  cere  ^;  wing 
from  flexure  \5\;  tail  \0\;  tarsus  3/^;  hind  toe  ljS,  its  claw  l^g;;  second  toe 
lj|,  its  claw  lj|;  third  toe  2,  its  claw  \l;  fourth  toe  1T52,  its  claw  yj. 


COMMON   BUZZARD. 

Buteo  vulgaris,  JVilloughby. 

PLATE   VI.— Female. 

The  specimen  from  which  the  figure  before  you  was  taken,  was  shot  by 
Mr.  Townsend  on  a  rock  near  the  Columbia  River,  on  which  it  had  its  nest. 
Unfortunately,  however,  he  has  not  supplied  me  with  any  account  of  this 
species,  and  the  only  notice  respecting  its  habits  that  I  have  seen,  is  that  in 
the  Fauna  Boreali-Americana,  by  Dr.  Richardson: — "The  Common  Buz- 
zard arriving  in  the  Fur  Countries  in  the  middle  of  April  very  soon  after- 
wards begins  to  build  its  nest;  and,  having  reared  its  young,  departs  about 
the  end  of  September.  It  haunts  the  low  alluvial  points  of  land  which  stretch 
out  under  the  high  banks  of  a  river;  and  may  be  observed  sitting  for  a  long 


T5J"°2 


pi.  e 


<  /, 


t  ///  /ru1// 


&«*~J. 


•  Drawn  from  Nature  bv  J  I  .Audubon.  F.B 


N°  2 


PI.  7 


W    ,' 


•  -y/t  v/  -  frt//r</  J  ffifj.  z :  a  rrt  . 


■ 


-■ 


THE  RED-TAILED  BUZZARD.  35 

to  judge  which  way  the  giant  of  the  forest  will  fall,  and  having  ascertained 
this,  he  redoubles  his  blows.  The  huge  oak  begins  to  tremble.  Were  it 
permitted  to  speak,  it  might  ask  why  it  should  suffer  for  the  deeds  of  another; 
but  it  is  now  seen  slowly  to  incline,  and  soon  after  with  an  awful  rustling 
produced  by  all  its  broad  arms,  its  branches,  twigs  and  leaves,  passing  like 
lightning  through  the  air,  the  noble  tree  falls  to  the  earth,  and  almost  causes 
it  to  shake.  The  work  of  revenge  is  now  accomplished:  the  farmer  seizes 
the  younglings,  and  carries  them  home,  to  be  tormented  by  his  children, 
until  death  terminates  their  brief  career. 

Notwithstanding  the  very  common  occurrence  of  such  acts  of  retribution 
between  man  and  the  Hawk,  it  would  be  difficult  to  visit  a  plantation  in  the 
State  of  Louisiana,  without  observing  at  least  a  pair  of  this  species  hovering 
about,  more  especially  during  the  winter  months.  Early  in  February,  they 
begin  to  build  their  nest,  which  is  usually  placed  within  the  forest,  and  on 
the  tallest  and  largest  tree  in  the  neighbourhood.  The  male  and  female  are 
busily  engaged  in  carrying  up  dried  sticks,  and  other  materials,  for  eight  or 
ten  days,  during  which  time  their  cry  is  seldom  heard.  The  nest  is  large, 
and  is  fixed  in  the  centre  of  a  triply  forked  branch.  It  is  of  a  flattish  form, 
constructed  of  sticks,  and  finished  with  slender  twigs  and  coarse  grasses  or 
Spanish  moss.  The  female  lays  four  or  five  eggs,  of  a  dull  white  colour, 
splatched  with  brown  and  black,  with  a  very  hard,  smooth  shell.  The  male 
assists  the  female  in  incubating,  but  it  is  seldom  that  the  one  brings  food  to 
the  other  while  thus  employed. 

I  have  seen  one  or  two  of  these  nests  built  in  a  large  tree  which  had  been 
left  standing  in  the  middle  of  a  field;  but  occurrences  of  this  kind  are  rare, 
on  account  of  the  great  enmity  shewn  to  this  species  by  the  farmers.  The 
young  are  abundantly  supplied  with  food  of  various  kinds,  particularly  grey 
squirrels,  which  the  parents  procure  while  hunting  in  pairs,  when  nothing 
can  save  the  squirrel  from  their  attacks  excepting  its  retreat  into  the  hole  of 
a  tree;  for  should  the  animal  be  observed  ascending  the  trunk  or  branch  of  a 
tree  by  either  of  the  Hawks,  this  one  immediately  plunges  toward  it,  while 
the  other  watches  it  from  the  air.  The  little  animal,  if  placed  against  the 
trunk,  when  it  sees  the  Hawk  coming  towards  it,  makes  swiftly  for  the 
opposite  side  of  the  trunk,  but  is  there  immediately  dived  at  by  the  other 
Hawk,  and  now  the  murderous  pair  chase  it  so  closely,  that  unless  it  imme- 
diately finds  a  hole  into  which  to  retreat,  it  is  caught  in  a  few  minutes,  killed, 
carried  to  the  nest,  torn  in  pieces,  and  distributed  among  the  young  Hawks. 
Small  hares,  or,  as  we  usually  call  them,  rabbits,  are  also  frequently  caught, 
and  the  depredations  of  the  Red-tailed  Hawks  at  this  period  are  astonishing, 
for  they  seem  to  kill  every  thing,  fit  for  food,  that  comes  in  their  way. 
They  are  great  destroyers  of  tame  Pigeons,  and  woe  to  the  Cock  or  Hen  that 


;j(,  THE  RED-TAILED  BUZZARD. 

strays  far  from  home,  for  so  powerful  is  this  Hawk,  that  it  is  able  not  only 
to  kill  them,  but  to  carry  them  off  in  its  claws  to  a  considerable  distance. 

The  continued  attachment  that  exists  between  Eagles  once  paired,  is  not 
exhibited  by  these  birds,  which,  after  rearing  their  young,  become  as  shy 
towards  each  other  as  if  they  had  never  met.  This  is  carried  to  such  a 
singular  length,  that  they  are  seen  to  chase  and  rob  each  other  of  their  prey, 
on  all  occasions.  I  have  seen  a  couple  thus  engaged,  when  one  of  them  had 
just  seized  a  young  rabbit  or  a  squirrel,  and  was  on  the  eve  of  rising  in  the 
air  with  it,  for  the  purpose  of  carrying  it  off  to  a  place  of  greater  security. 
The  one  would  attack  the  other  with  merciless  fury,  and  either  force  it  to 
abandon  the  prize,  or  fight  with  the  same  courage  as  its  antagonist,  to  prevent 
the  latter  from  becoming  the  sole  possessor.  They  are  sometimes  observed 
flying  either  one  after  the  other  with  great  rapidity,  emitting  their  continued 
cry  of  kae,  or  performing  beautiful  evolutions  through  the  air,  until  one  or 
other  of  them  becomes  fatigued,  and  giving  way,  makes  for  the  earth,  where 
the  battle  continues  until  one  is  overpowered  and  obliged  to  make  off.  It  was 
after  witnessing  such  an  encounter  between  two  of  these  powerful  marauders, 
fighting  hard  for  a  young  hare,  that  I  made  the  drawing  now  before  you, 
kind  reader,  in  which  you  perceive  the  male  to  have  greatly  the  advantage 
over  the  female,  although  she  still  holds  the  hare  firmly  in  one  of  her  talons, 
even  while  she  is  driven  towards  the  earth,  with  her  breast  upwards. 

I  have  observed  that  this  species  will  even  condescend  to  pounce  on  wood- 
rats  and  meadow-mice;  but  I  never  saw  one  of  these  birds  seize  even  those 
without  first  alighting  on  a  tree  before  committing  the  act. 

During  the  winter  months,  the  Red-tailed  Hawk  remains  perched  for 
hours  together,  when  the  sun  is  shining  and  the  weather  calm.  Its  breast  is 
opposed  to  the  sun,  and  it  then  is  seen  at  a  great  distance,  the  pure  white  of 
that  portion  of  its  plumage  glittering  as  if  possessed  of  a  silky  gloss.  They 
return  to  their  roosting-placcs  so  late  in  the  evening,  that  I  have  frequently 
heard  their  cry  after  sun-set,  mingling  with  the  jovial  notes  of  Chuck-will's- 
widow,  and  the  ludicrous  laugh  of  the  Baired  Owl.  In  the  State  of  Loui- 
siana, the  Red-tailed  Hawk  roosts  amongst  the  tallest  branches  of  the 
Magnolia  granclijlora,  a  tree  which  there  often  attains  a  height  of  a  hundred 
feet,  and  a  diameter  of  from  three  to  four  feet  at  the  base.  It  is  also  fond  of 
roosting  on  the  tall  Cypress-trees  of  our  swamps,  where  it  spends  the  night 
in  security,  amidst  the  mosses  attached  to  the  branches. 

The  Red-tailed  Hawk  is  extremely  wary,  and  difficult  to  be  approached 
by  any  one  bearing  a  gun,  the  use  of  which  it  seems  to  understand  perfectly; 
for  no  sooner  does  it  perceive  a  man  thus  armed  than  it  spreads  its  wings, 
utters  a  loud  shriek,  and  sails  off  in  an  opposite  direction.  On  the  other 
hand,  a  person  on  horseback,  or  walking  unarmed,  may  pass  immediately 


THE  RED-TAILED  BUZZARD.  37 

under  the  branch  on  which  it  is  perched,  when  it  merely  watches  his  motions 
as  he  proceeds.  It  seldom  alights  on  fences,  or  the  low  branches  of  trees, 
but  prefers  the  highest  and  most  prominent  parts  of  the  tallest  trees.  It 
alights  on  the  borders  of  clear  streams  to  drink.  I  have  observed  it  in  such 
situations,  immersing  its  bill  up  to  the  eyes,  and  swallowing  as  much  as  was 
necessary  to  quench  its  thirst  at  a  single  draught. 

I  have  seen  this  species  pounce  on  soft-shelled  tortoises,  and  amusing 
enough  it  was  to  see  the  latter  scramble  towards  the  water,  enter  it,  and  save 
themselves  from  the  claws  of  the  Hawk  by  immediately  diving.  I  am  not 
aware  that  this  Hawk  is  ever  successful  in  these  attacks,  as  I  have  not  on 
any  occasion  found  any  portion  of  the  skin,  head,  or  feet  of  tortoises  in  the 
stomachs  of  the  many  Hawks  of  this  species  which  I  have  killed  and  exa- 
mined. Several  times,  however,  I  have  found  portions  of  bull-frogs  in  their 
stomach. 

All  our  Falcons  are  pestered  with  parasitic  flying  ticks.  Those  found 
amongst  the  plumage  of  the  Red-tailed  Hawk,  like  all  others,  move  swiftly 
sidewise  between  the  feathers,  issue  from  the  skin,  and  shift  from  one  portion 
of  the  body  to  another  on  wing,  and  do  not  abandon  the  bird  for  a  day  or 
two  after  the  latter  is  dead.     These  ticks  are  large,  and  of  an  auburn  colour. 

The  body  of  the  Red-tailed  Hawk  is  large,  compact,  and  muscular.  These 
birds  protrude  their  talons  beyond  their  head  in  seizing  their  prey,  as  well 
as  while  fighting  in  the  air,  in  the  manner  shown  in  the  Plate.  I  have  caught 
several  birds  of  this  species  by  baiting  a  steel-trap  with  a  live  chicken. 

I  have  only  here  to  add,  that  amongst  the  American  farmers  the  common 
name  of  our  present  bird  is  the  Hen-hawk,  while  it  receives  that  of  Grand 
mangeur  de  ponies  from  the  Creoles  of  Louisiana. 

Red-tailed  Hawk,  Falco  borealis,  Wils.  Am.  Orn.,  vol.  vi.  p.  76.     Adult. 

American  Buzzard  or  White-breasted  Hawk,  Falco  leverianus,  Wils.  Am.  Orn.,  vol.  vi. 

p.  78. 
Buteo  borealis,  Red-tailed  Buzzard,  Swains.  &  Rich.,  F.  Bor.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  50. 
Red-tailed  Hawk  or  Buzzard,  Falco  borealis,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  102. 
Red-tailed  Hawk,  Falco  borealis,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  2G5;  vol.  v.  p.  378. 

Adult  Male. 

Bill  light  blue,  blackish  at  the  tip,  greenish-yellow  on  the  margin  towards 
the  base;  cere  greenish-yellow.  Iris  hazel.  Tarsi  and  toes  yellow;  claws 
brownish-black.  Upper  part  of  the  head  light  brownish-grey.  Loral  space 
and  under  eyelid  white.  A  broad  band  of  dark  brown  from  the  angle  of  the 
mouth  backwards.  Neck  above  and  on  the  sides  reddish-yellow,  with  large 
deep  brown  spots.  Back  deep  brown;  scapulars  of  the  same  colour,  broadly 
margined  and  tipped  with  brownish-white.     Lesser  wing-coverts  chocolate- 


38  HARLAN'S  BUZZARD. 

brown;  larger  lighter  brown,  tipped  with  white.  Primary  quills  blackish- 
brown;  secondaries  lighter,  tipped  with  brownish-white;  all  barred  with 
blackish.  Upper  tail-coverts  whitish,  barred  with  brown,  and  yellowish-red 
in  the  middle.  Tail  bright  yellowish-red,  tipped  with  whitish,  and  having  a 
narrow  bar  of  black  near  the  end.  Lower  parts  brownish-white;  the  fore 
part  of  the  breast  and  neck  light  yellowish-red,  the  former  marked  with 
guttiform,  somewhat  sagittate  brown  spots:  abdomen  and  chin  white;  feathers 
of  the  leg  and  tarsus  pale  reddish-yellow,  those  on  the  outside  indistinctly 
spotted. 

Length  20^  inches;  extent  of  wings  46;  bill  along  the  back  1^,  along  the 
gap  2;  tarsus  3^,  middle  toe  2f.  Wings  when  closed  reaching  to  within  two 
inches  of  the  tip  of  the  tail. 

Adult  Female. 

The  female,  which  is  considerably  larger,  agrees  with  the  male  in  the 
general  distribution  of  its  colouring.  The  upper  parts  are  darker,  and  the 
under  parts  nearly  white,  there  being  only  a  few  narrow  streaks  on  the  sides 
of  the  breast;  the  tibial  and  tarsal  feathers  as  in  the  male.  The  tail  is  of  a 
duller  red,  and  wants  the  black  bar. 

Length  24  inches. 


HARLAN'S    BUZZARD. 

Buteo  Harlaxi,  Aud. 
PLATE  VIII.— Male  and  Female. 

Long  before  I  discovered  this  fine  Hawk,  I  was  anxious  to  have  an  oppor- 
tunity of  honouring  some  new  species  of  the  feathered  tribe  with  the  name 
of  my  excellent  friend  Dr.  Richard  Harlan,  of  Philadelphia.  This  I  might 
have  done  sooner,  had  I  not  waited  until  a  species  should  occur,  which  in  its 
size  and  importance  should  bear  some  proportion  to  my  gratitude  toward 
that  learned  and  accomplished  friend. 

The  Hawks  now  before  you  were  discovered  near  St.  Francisville,  in 
Louisiana,  during  my  late  sojourn  in  that  State,  and  had  bred  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  the  place  where  I  procured  them,  for  two  seasons,  although  they 
had  always  eluded  my  search,  until,  at  last,  as  I  was  crossing  a  large  cotton 
field,  one  afternoon,   I  saw  the   female  represented   in  the  Plate  standing 


Ji.   8 


\ 


//,//////  j  .  muwuvra;. 


N°E 


PI  9 


•  ^/<t/  j//cu/s/<~/r</ :yS/; : U7 i// 


...nirc  bv  J  J  Audubon  KK 


• 


U92 


PI.  10. 


Drawn  from  Nature  by  J.  J  Audubon  P.KS.F.I..S 


..  al'w.i- 


THE  BROAD-WINGED  BUZZARD.  45 

hold  with  its  talons.  If  a  stick  is  presented  to  it  in  this  state,  it  will  clench 
it  at  once,  and  allow  itself  to  be  carried  hanging  to  it  for  some  distance, 
indeed  until  the  muscles  become  paralyzed,  when  it  drops,  and  again  employs 
the  same  means  of  defence. 

When  feeding,  it  generally  holds  its  prey  with  both  feet,  and  tears  and 
swallows  the  parts  without  much  plucking.  I  must  here  remark,  that  birds 
of  prey  never  cover  their  victims  by  extending  the  wings  over  them,  unless 
when  about  to  be  attacked  by  other  birds  or  animals,  that  evince  a  desire  to 
share  with  them  or  carry  off  the  fruit  of  their  exertions.  In  the  stomach  of 
this  bird  I  have  found  wood-frogs,  portions  of  small  snakes,  together  with 
feathers,  and  the  hair  of  several  small  species  of  quadrupeds.  I  do  not  think 
it  ever  secures  birds  on  the  wing,  at  least  I  never  saw  it  do  so. 

The  nest,  wThich  is  about  the  size  of  that  of  the  Common  Crow,  is  usually 
placed  on  pretty  large  branches,  and  near  the  stem  or  trunk  of  the  tree.  It 
is  composed  externally  of  dry  sticks  and  briars,  internally  of  numerous  small 
roots,  and  is  lined  with  the  large  feathers  of  the  Common  Fowl  and  other 
birds.  The  eggs  are  four  or  five,  of  a  dull  greyish-white,  blotched  with  dark 
brown.  They  are  deposited  as  early  as  the  beginning  of  March,  in  low 
places,  but  not  until  a  fortnight  later  in  the  mountainous  parts  of  the  districts 
in  which  the  bird  more  frequently  breeds. 

Broad-winged  Hawk,  Falco  Pennsylvanicus,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  vi.  p.  92. 

Falco  Pennsylvanicus,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  29. 

Broad-winged  Hawk,  Falco  Pennsylvanicus,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  105. 

Broad-winged  Hawk,  Falco  Pennsylvanicus,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  461;  vol.  v.  p.  377. 

Adult  Male. 

Bill  shortish,  as  broad  as  long,  the  sides  convex,  the  dorsal  outline  convex 
from  the  base;  upper  mandible  with  the  edges  slightly  inflected,  waved  with 
a  broad  rounded  lobe,  the  tip  trigonal,  descending  obliquely,  acute;  lower 
mandible  inflected  at  the  edges,  rounded  at  the  tip.  Nostrils  oval,  oblique. 
Head  rather  large,  flattened  above.  Neck  shortish.  Body  ovate,  broad 
anteriorly.  Wings  rather  long.  Legs  longish,  rather  robust,  roundish;  tarsi 
covered  before  and  behind  with  scutella;  toes  covered  above  with  scutella, 
scabrous  and  tuberculate  beneath;  middle  toe  much  the  longest,  outer  con- 
nected at  the  base  by  a  membrane,  and  shorter  than  the  inner;  claws  long, 
curved,  roundish,  very  acute. 

Plumage  ordinary,  compact.  Feathers  of  the  head  narrow,  of  the  back 
broad  and  rounded,  of  the  neck  oblong.  Space  between  the  bill  and  eye 
covered  with  bristly  feathers.  Wing  very  broad,  the  primary  quills  broad, 
slightly  narrowed  toward  the  end,  rounded,  the  fourth  longest,  the  secondary 

Vol.  I.  7 


46  ROUGH-LEGGED  BUZZARD. 

quills  curved  inwards,  broadly  obtuse.  Tail  longish,  nearly  even,  tbe  feathers 
rather  broad,  truncated  and  rounded. 

Bill  bluish-black  at  the  tip,  blue  towards  the  base;  cere  and  margin  yellow. 
Iris  hazel.  Feet  gamboge-yellow;  claws  brownish-black.  The  general  co- 
lour of  the  upper  parts  is  dark  umber;  the  forehead  with  a  slight  margin  of 
whitish,  the  quills  blackish-brown,  the  tail  with  three  bands  of  dark  brown, 
alternating  with  two  whitish  bands,  and  a  narrower  terminal  band  of  greyish, 
the  tips  white.  Throat  whitish;  cheeks  reddish-brown,  with  a  dark  brown 
mustachial  band;  the  under  parts  generally  light  reddish,  marked  with  gutti- 
form  umber  spots  along  the  neck,  and  sagittiform  larger  spots  of  the  same 
colour  on  the  breast  and  sides.  Tibial  feathers  of  the  same  colour,  with 
numerous  smaller  spots. 

Length  14  inches;  extent  of  wings  32;  bill  ||-  along  the  ridge,  li  along 
the  gap. 

Adult  Female. 

Colouring  generally  similar  to  that  of  the  male,  lighter  above,  more  tinged 
with  red  beneath,  where  the  spots  are  larger  and  more  irregular. 

Length  16  inches;  extent  of  wings  35;  bill  1  along  the  ridge,  II  along  the 

SaP- 


ROUGH-LEGGED   BUZZARD. 

Buteo  lac-opus,  Gmel. 
PLATE  XI. 

The  Red-legged  Hawk  seldom  goes  farther  south  along  our  Atlantic  coast 
than  the  eastern  portions  of  North  Carolina,  nor  have  I  ever  seen  it  to  the 
west  of  the  Alleghanies.  It  is  a  sluggish  bird,  and  confines  itself  to  the 
meadows  and  low  grounds  bordering  the  rivers  and  salt-marshes,  along  our 
bays  and  inlets.  In  such  places  you  ma}'  see  it  perched  on  a  stake,  where  it 
remains  for  hours  at  a  time,  unless  some  wounded  bird  comes  in  sight,  when 
it  sails  after  it,  and  secures  it  without  manifesting  much  swiftness  of  flight. 
It  feeds  principally  on  moles,  mice,  and  other  small  quadrupeds,  and  never 
attacks  a  duck  on  the  wing,  although  now  and  then  it  pursues  a  wounded  one. 
When  not  alarmed,  it  usually  flies  low  and  sedately,  and  does  not  exhibit 
any  of  the  courage  and  vigour  so  conspicuous  in  most  other  hawks,  suffering 


N?3 


PI.  11 


./i.j- 


&oaj2>A  -Jtq/zt^&cMtaizartH/s 


Drawn  from  Salure  bv  J  I  Audubon  FR  S.T'.L  S 


I  .iihM'riWfd  ••  '""i'l«  i  I'  ll.-v.ii  I'lnlaJ" 


ROUGH-LEGGED  BUZZARD.  49 

The  old  bird,  which  has  a  very  different  look  as  to  colour,  has  been  noticed 
or  described  under  different  names. 

Black  Hawk,  Fako  niger,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  vi.  p.  82,  pi.  liii.  fig.  1. 
Falco  Sancti-Johannis,  Bonap.  Synops.  of  Birds  of  the  United  States,  p.  32. 

The  bill,  feet,  and  iris  are  coloured  as  in  middle  age;  but  the  plumage  is 
of  a  nearly  uniform  chocolate-brown,  the  bases  of  the  quills,  however,  remain- 
ing white,  the  broad  band  on  the  under  surface  of  the  wing  being  the  same 
as  in  the  younger  bird;  and  the  tail  being  brown,  without  a  subterminal  bar 
of  black,  but  slightly  tipped  with  brownish-white,  and  barred  with  yellowish- 
white  on  the  inner  webs,  the  bars  becoming  more  distinct  on  the  outer  feathers. 
The  wings  in  both  reach  to  near  the  tip  of  the  tail.  The  feathers  on  the 
nape  of  the  neck  are  white,  excepting  at  the  extremities,  which  is  also  the 
case  in  the  young  and  middle  aged  birds,  and  is  not  a  circumstance  peculiar 
to  this  species,  being  observed  in  F.  tdlbicilla,  F.  palumbarius,  F.  Nisus, 
and  many  others. 


Genus  III.— AQUILA,  Briss.     EAGLE. 

Bill  rather  short,  deep,  compressed;  upper  mandible  with  the  dorsal  out- 
line nearly  straight  and  sloping  at  the  base,  beyond  the  cere  decurved,  the 
sides  sloping  and  slightly  convex,  the  edges  nearly  straight,  with  a  slight 
convexity  and  a  shallow  sinus  close  to  the  strong  subtrigonal  tip;  lower  man- 
dible with  the  dorsal  outline  convex,  the  tip  obliquely  truncate.  Head  large, 
roundish,  flattened  above.  Nostrils  oval,  oblique,  nearer  the  ridge  than  the 
margin.  Neck  rather  short.  Body  very  large.  Feet  rather  short,  very 
robust;  tarsi  roundish,  feathered  to  the  toes,  which  are  rather  short,  united 
at  the  base  by  short  webs,  covered  above  with  a  series  of  angular  scales,  and 
towards  the  end  with  a  few  large  scutella;  claws  long,  curved,  rounded,  flat 
beneath,  acuminate.  Plumage  compact,  imbricated,  glossy;  feathers  of  the 
head  and  neck  narrow  and  pointed;  space  between  the  bill  and  eye  covered 
with  small  bristle-pointed  feathers,  disposed  in  a  radiating  manner.  Wings 
long,  the  fourth  quill  longest;  the  first  short;  the  outer  six  abruptly  cut  out 
on  the  inner  web.     Tail  rather  long,  ample,  rounded. 

Vol.  I.  8 


50 


THE   GOLDEN   EAGLE. 

Aquila  Chrysaetos,  Linn. 

PLATE  XII. 

The  Golden  Eagle,  although  a  permanent  resident  in  the  United  States,  is 
of  rare  occurrence,  it  being  seldom  that  one  sees  more  than  a  pair  or  two  in 
the  course  of  a  year,  unless  he  be  an  inhabitant  of  the  mountains,  or  of  the 
large  plains  spread  out  at  their  base.  I  have  seen  a  few  of  them  on  the  wing 
along  the  shores  of  the  Hudson,  others  on  the  upper  parts  of  the  Mississippi, 
some  among  the  Alleghanies,  and  a  pair  in  the  State  of  Maine.  At  Labrador 
we  saw  an  individual  sailing,  at  the  height  of  a  few  yards,  over  the  moss- 
covered  surface  of  the  dreary  rocks. 

Although  possessed  of  a  powerful  flight  it  has  not  the  speed  of  many 
Hawks,  nor  even  of  the  White-headed  Eagle.  It  cannot,  like  the  latter, 
pursue  and  seize  on  the  wing  the  prey  it  longs  for,  but  is  obliged  to  glide 
down  through  the  air  for  a  certain  height  to  insure  the  success  of  its  enter- 
prise. The  keenness  of  its  eye,  however,  makes  up  for  this  defect,  and 
enables  it  to  spy,  at  a  great  distance,  the  objects  on  which  it  preys;  and  it 
seldom  misses  its  aim,  as  it  falls  with  the  swiftness  of  a  meteor  towards  the 
spot  on  which  they  are  concealed.  When  at  a  great  height  in  the  air,  its 
gyrations  are  uncommonly  beautiful,  being  slow  and  of  wide  circuit,  and 
becoming  the  majesty  of  the  king  of  birds.  It  often  continues  them  for  hours 
at  a  time,  with  apparently  the  greatest  ease. 

The  nest  of  this  noble  species  is  always  placed  on  an  inaccessible  shelf  of 
some  rugged  precipice, — never,  that  I  am  aware  of,  on  a  tree.  It  is  of  great 
size,  flat,  and  consists  merely  of  a  few  dead  sticks  and  brambles,  so  bare  at 
times  that  the  eggs  might  be  said  to  be  deposited  on  the  naked  rock.  They 
are  generally  two,  sometimes  three,  having  a  length  of  3^  inches,  and  a 
diameter  at  the  broadest  part  of  2^.  The  shell  is  thick  and  smooth,  dull 
white,  brushed  over,  as  it  were,  with  undefined  patches  of  brown,  which  are 
most  numerous  at  the  larger  end.  The  period  at  which  they  are  deposited, 
is  the  end  of  February  or  the  beginning  of  March.  I  have  never  seen  the 
young  when  newly  hatched,  but  know  that  they  do  not  leave  the  nest  until 
nearly  able  to  provide  for  themselves,  when  their  parents  drive  them  off  from 
their  home,  and  finally  from  their  hunting  grounds.  A  pair  of  these  birds 
bred  on  the  rocky  shores  of  the  Hudson  for  eight  successive  years,  and  in 
the  same  chasm  of  the  rock. 


52  THE  GOLDEN  EAGLE. 

Adult  Female. 

Wings  long;  the  fourth  quill  longest,  the  third  almost  equal,  the  second 
considerably  shorter,  the  first  short;  the  first,  second,  third,  fourth,  fifth,  and 
sixth  abruptly  cut  out  on  the  inner  webs;  the  secondaries  long,  broad,  and 
rounded.  Tail  rather  long,  ample,  rounded,  of  twelve  broad,  rounded,  and 
acuminate  feathers. 

Bill  light  bluish-grey  at  the  base,  black  at  the  tip;  cere  and  basal  margins 
yellow.  Eyebrows  and  margins  of  the  eyelids  light  blue;  iris  chestnut. 
Toes  rich  yellow;  claws  bluish-black.  Fore  part  of  the  head,  cheeks,  throat, 
and  under  parts  deep  brown.  Hind  head,  and  posterior  and  lateral  parts  of 
the  neck  light  brownish-yellow,  the  shafts  and  concealed  parts  of  the  feathers 
deep  brown.  The  back  is  deep  brown,  glossy,  with  purplish  reflections; 
the  wing-coverts  lighter.  The  primary  quills  brownish-black,  the  secondaries 
with  their  coverts  brown,  and  those  next  the  body  more  or  less  mottled  with 
brownish-white,  excepting  at  the  ends;  the  edge  of  the  wing  at  the  flexure 
pale  yellowish-brown.  Tail  dark  brown,  lighter  towards  the  base,  and  with 
a  few  irregular  whitish  markings,  like  fragments  of  transverse  bands;  its 
coverts  pale  brown,  mottled  with  white  at  the  base,  and  paler  at  the  ends. 
The  short  feathers  of  the  legs  and  tarsi  are  light  yellowish-brown,  each  with 
a  dark  shaft;  the  outer  elongated  feathers  dark  brown;  the  lower  tail-coverts 
light  yellowish-brown.  The  base  of  the  feathers  on  the  upper  parts  of  the 
body  is  white,  on  the  lower  pale  dusky  grey. 

Length  3  feet  2  inches;  extent  of  wings  7  feet;  bill  along  the  back  2f, 
edge  of  lower  mandible  2\;  tarsus  4^,  middle  toe  and  claw  4^,  hind  claw  2§. 
The  extremities  of  the  wings  are  1  inch  short  of  that  of  the  tail. 


Genus  IV.— HALIAETUS,  Savigny.     SEA-EAGLE. 

Bill  rather  short,  very  deep,  compressed;  upper  mandible  with  the  dorsal 
outline  nearly  straight  at  the  base,  beyond  the  cere  decurved,  the  sides  slop- 
ing, the  edges  nearly  straight,  with  a  slight  obtuse  process,  and  a  shallow 
sinus  close  to  the  strong  trigonal  tip;  lower  mandible  with  the  dorsal  outline 
slightly  convex,  the  tip  obliquely  truncate.  Head  large,  oblong,  flattened 
above.  Nostrils  oblong,  oblique,  near  the  ridge.  Neck  of  moderate  length. 
Body  very  large.  Feet  rather  short,  very  robust;  tarsi  roundish,  covered 
anteriorly  with  transverse  scutella,  posteriorly  with  large,  laterally  with 
small  scales;  toes  robust,  free,  scutellate  above;  claws  large,  curved,  rounded, 
fiat  beneath,  acuminate.  Plumage  compact,  imbricated;  feathers  of  the  head 
and  neck  narrow  and  pointed;  space  between  the  bill  and  eye  barish,  being 


N°3 


PI.  10. 


Draui  ' 


l.nh"  P  '  ■     '        -  ■■.'....     ' 


WASHINGTON  SEA-EAGLE.  53 

sparsely  covered  with  bristle-like  feathers,  disposed  in  a  radiating  manner. 
Wings  long,  the  second  and  third  quills  longest,  the  outer  five  cut  out  abruptly 
on  the  inner  web.     Tail  rather  long,  rounded.     Duodenum  convoluted. 


WASHINGTON    SEA-EAGLE. 

Haliaetus  Washingtoni,  Aud. 

PLATE  XIII.— Male. 

It  was  in  the  month  of  February,  IS  14,  that  I  obtained  the  first  sight  of 
this  noble  bird,  and  never  shall  I  forget  the  delight  which  it  gave  me.  Not 
even  Herschel,  when  he  discovered  the  planet  which  bears  his  name,  could 
have  experienced  more  rapturous  feelings.  We  were  on  a  trading  voyage, 
ascending  the  Upper  Mississippi.  The  keen  wintry  blasts  whistled  around 
us,  and  the  cold  from  which  I  suffered  had,  in  a  great  degree,  extinguished 
the  deep  interest  which,  at  other  seasons,  this  magnificent  river  has  been 
wont  to  awake  in  me.  I  lay  stretched  beside  our  patroon.  The  safety  of 
the  cargo  was  forgotten,  and  the  only  thing  that  called  my  attention  was  the 
multitude  of  ducks,  of  different  species,  accompanied  by  vast  flocks  of  swans, 
which  from  time  to  time  passed  us.  My  patroon,  a  Canadian,  had  been 
engaged  many  years  in  the  fur  trade.  He  was  a  man  of  much  intelligence, 
and,  perceiving  that  these  birds  had  engaged  my  curiosity,  seemed  anxious 
to  find  some  new  object  to  divert  me.  An  eagle  flew  over  us.  "How  for- 
tunate!" he  exclaimed;  "this  is  what  I  could  have  wished.  Look,  sir!  the 
Great  Eagle,  and  the  only  one  I  have  seen  since  I  left  the  lakes."  I  was 
instantly  on  my  feet,  and  having  observed  it  attentively,  concluded,  as  I  lost 
it  in  the  distance,  that  it  was  a  species  quite  new  to  me.  My  patroon  assured 
me  that  such  birds  were  indeed  rare;  that  they  sometimes  followed  the 
hunters,  to  feed  on  the  entrails  of  animals  which  they  had  killed,  when  the 
lakes  were  frozen  over,  but  that  when  the  lakes  were  open,  they  would  dive 
in  the  daytime  after  fish,  and  snatch  them  up  in  the  manner  of  the  Fishing 
Hawk;  and  that  they  roosted  generally  on  the  shelves  of  the  rocks,  where 
they  built  their  nests,  of  which  he  had  discovered  several  by  the  quantity 
of  white  dung  scattered  below. 

Convinced  that  the  bird  was  unknown  to  naturalists,  I  felt  particularly 
anxious  to  learn  its  habits,  and  to  discover  in  what  particulars  it  differed 
from  the  rest  of  its  genus.  My  next  meeting  with  this  bird  was  a  few  years 
afterwards,  whilst  engaged  in  collecting  crayfish  on  one  of  those  flats  which 


56  WASHINGTON  SEA-EAGLE. 

In  the  month  of  January  following,  I  saw  a  pair  of  these  Eagles  flying 
over  the  Falls  of  the  Ohio,  one  in  pursuit  of  the  other.  The  next  day  I  saw 
them  again.  The  female  had  relaxed  her  severity,  had  laid  aside  her  coyness, 
and  to  a  favourite  tree  they  continually  resorted.  I  pursued  them  unsuccess- 
fully for  several  days,  when  they  forsook  the  place. 

The  flight  of  this  bird  is  very  different  from  that  of  the  White-headed 
Eagle.  The  former  encircles  a  greater  space,  whilst  sailing  keeps  nearer  to 
the  land  and  the  surface  of  the  water,  and  when  about  to  dive  for  fish  falls  in 
a  spiral  manner,  as  if  with  the  intention  of  checking  any  retreating  movement 
which  its  prey  might  attempt,  darting  upon  it  only  when  a  few  yards  distant. 
The  Fish  Hawk  often  does  the  same.  When  rising  with  a  fish,  the  Bird  of 
Washington  flies  to  a  considerable  distance,  forming,  in  its  line  of  course,  a 
very  acute  angle  with  the  surface  line  of  the  water.  My  last  opportunity  of 
seeing  this  bird  was  on  the  15th  of  November,  1821,  a  few  miles  above  the 
mouth  of  the  Ohio,  when  two  passed  over  our  boat,  moving  down  the  river 
with  a  gentle  motion.  In  a  letter  from  a  kind  relative,  Mr.  W.  Bakewell, 
dated,  "Falls  of  the  Ohio,  July  1819,"  and  containing  particulars  relative 
to  the  Swallow-tailed  Hawk  (Falco  furcatus),  that  gentleman  says: — 
"Yesterday,  for  the  first  time,  I  had  an  opportunity  of  viewing  one  of  those 
magnificent  birds  which  you  call  the  Sea-Eagle,  as  it  passed  low  over  me, 
whilst  fishing.  I  shall  be  really  glad  when  I  can  again  have  the  pleasure  of 
seeing  your  drawing  of  it." 

Falco  Washingtoni,  Aud.  Birds  of  America,  pi.  ii.;  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  58. 

Adult  Male. 

Tarsus  and  toes  uniformly  scutellate  in  their  whole  length.  Bill  bluish- 
black,  cere  yellowish-brown,  feet  orange-yellow,  claws  bluish-black.  Upper 
part  of  the  head,  hind  neck,  back,  scapulars,  rump,  tail-coverts,  and  posterior 
tibial  feathers  blackish-brown,  glossed  with  a  coppery  tint;  throat,  fore  neck, 
breast,  and  belly  light  brownish-yellow,  each  feather  with  a  central  blackish- 
brown  streak;  wing-coverts  light  greyish-brown,  those  next  the  body 
becoming  darker;  primary  quills  dark  brown,  deeper  on  their  inner  webs; 
secondaries  lighter,  and  on  their  outer  webs  of  nearly  the  same  light  tint  as 
their  coverts;  tail  uniform  dark  brown. 

Length  3  feet  7  inches;  extent  of  wings  10  feet  2  inches;  bill  31  inches 
along  the  back;  along  the  gap,  which  commences  directly  under  the  eye,  to 
the  tip  of  the  lower  mandible  3^,  and  If  deep.  Length  of  wing  when  folded 
32  inches;  length  of  tail  15  inches;  tarsus  4^,  middle  4f,  hind  claw  2\. 


57 


WHITE-HEADED  OR  BALD  EAGLE. 

--Haliaetus  leucocephaltjs,  Linn. 
PLATE  XIV.— Male. 

The  figure  of  this  noble  bird  is  well  known  throughout  the  civilized 
world,  emblazoned  as  it  is  on  our  national  standard,  which  waves  in  the 
breeze  of  every  clime,  bearing  to  distant  lands  the  remembrance  of  a  great 
people  living  in  a  state  of  peaceful  freedom.  May  that  peaceful  freedom  last 
for  ever! 

The  great  strength,  daring,  and  cool  courage  of  the  White-headed  Eagle, 
joined  to  his  unequalled  power  of  flight,  render  him  highly  conspicuous 
among  his  brethren.  To  these  qualities  did  he  add  a  generous  disposition 
towards  others,  he  might  be  looked  up  to  as  a  model  of  nobility.  The  fero- 
cious, overbearing,  and  tyrannical  temper  which  is  ever  and  anon  displaying 
itself  in  his  actions,  is,  nevertheless,  best  adapted  to  his  state,  and  was  wisely 
given  him  by  the  Creator  to  enable  him  to  perform  the  office  assigned  to 
him. 

The  flight  of  the  White-headed  Eagle  is  strong,  generally  uniform,  and 
protracted  to  any  distance,  at  pleasure.  Whilst  travelling,  it  is  entirely  sup- 
ported by  equal  easy  flappings,  without  any  intermission,  in  as  far  as  I  have 
observed  it,  by  following  it  with  the  eye  or  the  assistance  of  a  glass.  When 
looking  for  prey,  it  sails  with  extended  wings,  at  right  angles  to  its  body, 
now  and  then  allowing  its  legs  to  hang  at  their  full  length.  Whilst  sailing, 
it  has  the  power  of  ascending  in  circular  sweeps,  without  a  single  flap  of  the 
wings,  or  any  apparent  motion  either  of  them  or  of  the  tail;  and  in  this 
manner  it  often  rises  until  it  disappears  from  the  view,  the  white  tail  remain- 
ing longer  visible  than  the  rest  of  the  body.  At  other  times,  it  rises  only  a 
few  hundred  feet  in  the  air,  and  sails  off  in  a  direct  line,  and  with  rapidity. 
Again,  when  thus  elevated,  it  partially  closes  its  wings,  and  glides  down- 
wards for  a  considerable  space,  when,  as  if  disappointed,  it  suddenly  checks 
its  career,  and  reassumes  its  former  steady  flight.  When  at  an  immense 
height,  and  as  if  observing  an  object  on  the  ground,  it  closes  its  wings,  and 
glides  through  the  air  with  such  rapidity  as  to  cause  a  loud  rustling  sound, 
not  unlike  that  produced  by  a  violent  gust  of  wind  passing  amongst  the 
branches  of  trees.  Its  fall  towards  the  earth  can  scarcely  be  followed  by  the 
eye  on  such  occasions,  the  more  particularly  that  these  falls  or  glidings 
through  the  air  usually  take  place  when  they  are  least  expected. 

Vol.  I.  9 


(JO  WHITE-HEADED  OR  BALD  EAGLE. 

ments.  Their  sight,  although  probably  as  perfect  as  that  of  any  bird,  is 
much  affected  during  a  fall  of  snow,  at  which  time  they  may  be  approached 
without  difficulty. 

The  White-headed  Eagle  seldom  appears  in  very  mountainous  districts, 
but  prefers  the  low  lands  of  the  sea-shores,  those  of  our  large  lakes,  and  the 
borders  of  rivers.  It  is  a  constant  resident  in  the  United  States,  in  every 
part  of  which  it  is  to  be  seen.  The  roosts  and  breeding  places  of  pigeons  are 
resorted  to  by  it,  for  the  purpose  of  picking  up  the  young  birds  that  happen 
to  fall,  or  the  old  ones  when  wounded.  It  seldom,  however,  follows  the 
flocks  of  these  birds  when  on  their  migrations. 

When  shot  at  and  wounded,  it  tries  to  escape  by  long  and  quickly  repeated 
leaps,  and,  if  not  closely  pursued,  soon  conceals  itself.  Should  it  happen  to 
fall  on  the  water,  it  strikes  powerfully  with  expanded  wings,  and  in  this 
manner  often  reaches  the  shore,  when  it  is  not  more  than  twenty  or  thirty 
yards  distant.  It  is  capable  of  supporting  life  without  food  for  a  long  period. 
I  have  heard  of  some,  which,  in  a  state  of  confinement,  had  lived  without 
much  apparent  distress  for  twenty  days,  although  I  cannot  vouch  for  the 
truth  of  such  statements,  which,  however,  may  be  quite  correct.  They  defend 
themselves  in  the  manner  usually  followed  by  other  Eagles  and  Hawks, 
throwing  themselves  backwards,  and  furiously  striking  with  their  talons  at 
any  object  within  reach,  keeping  their  bill  open,  and  turning  their  head  with 
quickness  to  watch  the  movements  of  the  enemy,  their  eyes  being  apparently 
more  protruded  than  when  unmolested. 

It  is  supposed  that  Eagles  live  to  a  very  great  age, — some  persons  have 
ventured  to  say  even  a  hundred  years.  On  this  subject,  I  can  only  observe, 
that  I  once  found  one  of  these  birds,  which,  on  being  killed,  proved  to  be  a 
female,  and  which,  judging  by  its  appearance,  must  have  been  very  old.  Its 
tail  and  wing-feathers  were  so  worn  out,  and  of  such  a  rusty  colour,  that  I 
imagined  the  bird  had  lost  the  power  of  moulting.  The  legs  and  feet  were 
covered  with  large  warts,  the  claws  and  bill  were  much  blunted;  it  could 
scarcely  fly  more  than  a  hundred  yards  at  a  time,  and  this  it  did  with  a 
heaviness  and  unsteadiness  of  motion  such  as  I  never  witnessed  in  any  other 
bird  of  the  species.  The  body  was  poor  and  very  tough.  The  eye  was  the 
only  part  which  appeared  to  have  sustained  no  injury.  It  remained  sparkling 
and  full  of  animation,  and  even  after  death  seemed  to  have  lost  little  of  its 
lustre.     No  wounds  were  perceivable  on  its  body. 

The  White-headed  Eagle  is  seldom  seen  alone,  the  mutual  attachment 
which  two  individuals  form  when  they  first  pair  seeming  to  continue  until 
one  of  them  dies  or  is  destroyed.  They  hunt  for  the  support  of  each  other, 
and  seldom  feed  apart,  but  usually  drive  off  other  birds  of  the  same  species. 
They  commence  their  amatory  intercourse  at  an  earlier  period  than  any  other 


WHITE-HEADED  OR  BALD  EAGLE.  61 

land  bird  with  which  I  am  acquainted,  generally  in  the  month  of  December. 
At  this  time,  along  the  Mississippi,  or  by  the  margin  of  some  lake  not  far  in 
the  interior  of  the  forest,  the  male  and  female  birds  are  observed  making  a 
great  bustle,  flying  about  and  circling  in  various  ways,  uttering  a  loud  cack- 
ling noise,  alighting  on  the  dead  branches  of  the  tree  on  which  their  nest  is 
already  preparing,  or  in  the  act  of  being  repaired,  and  caressing  each  other. 
In  the  beginning  of  January  incubation  commences.  I  shot  a  female,  on  the 
17th  of  that  month,  as  she  sat  on  her  eggs,  in  which  the  chicks  had  made 
considerable  progress. 

The  nest,  which  in  some  instances  is  of  great  size,  is  usually  placed  on  a 
very  tall  tree,  destitute  of  branches  to  a  considerable  height,  but  by  no  means 
always  a  dead  one.  It  is  never  seen  on  rocks.  It  is  composed  of  sticks, 
from  three  to  five  feet  in  length,  large  pieces  of  turf,  rank  weeds,  and  Spanish 
moss  in  abundance,  whenever  that  substance  happens  to  be  near.  When 
finished,  it  measures  from  five  to  six  feet  in  diameter,  and  so  great  is  the 
accumulation  of  materials,  that  it  sometimes  measures  the  same  in  depth,  it 
being  occupied  for  a  great  number  of  years  in  succession,  and  receiving 
some  augmentation  each  season.  When  placed  in  a  naked  tree,  between  the 
forks  of  the  branches,  it  is  conspicuously  seen  at  a  great  distance.  The 
eggs,  which  are  from  two  to  four,  more  commonly  two  or  three,  are  of  a 
dull  white  colour,  and  equally  rounded  at  both  ends,  some  of  them  being 
occasionally  granulated.  Incubation  lasts  for  more  than  three  weeks,  but  I 
have  not  been  able  to  ascertain  its  precise  duration,  as  I  have  observed  the 
female  on  different  occasions  sit  for  a  few  days  in  the  nest,  before  laying  the 
first  egg.  Of  this  I  assured  myself  by  climbing  to  the  nest,  every  day  in 
succession,  during  her  temj)orary  absence, — a  rather  perilous  undertaking 
when  the  bird  is  sitting. 

I  have  seen  the  young  birds  when  not  larger  than  middle-sized  pullets. 
At  this  time,  they  are  covered  with  a  soft  cottony  kind  of  down,  their  bill 
and  legs  appearing  disproportionately  large.  Their  first  plumage  is  of  a 
greyish  colour,  mixed  with  brown  of  different  depths  of  tint,  and  before  the 
parents  drive  them  off  from  the  nest  they  are  fully  fledged.  As  a  figure  of 
the  Young  White-headed  Eagle  will  appear  in  the  course  of  the  publication 
of  my  Illustrations,  I  shall  not  here  trouble  you  with  a  description  of  its 
appearance.  I  once  caught  three  young  Eagles  of  this  species,  when  fully 
fledged,  by  having  the  tree,  on  which  their  nest  was,  cut  down.  It  caused 
great  trouble  to  secure  them,  as  they  could  fly  and  scramble  much  faster  than 
any  of  our  party  could  run.  They,  however,  gradually  became  fatigued,  and 
at  length  were  so  exhausted  as  to  offer  no  resistance,  when  we  were  securing 
them  with  cords.     This  happened  on  the  border  of  Lake  Pontchartrain,  in 


(32  WHITE-HEADED  OR  BALD  EAGLE. 

the  month  of  April.     The  parents  did  not  think  fit  to  come  within  gun-shot 
of  the  tree  while  the  axe  was  at  work. 

The  attachment  of  the  parents  to  the  young  is  very  great,  when  the  latter 
are  yet  of  a  small  size;  and  to  ascend  to  the  nest  at  this  time  would  be  dan- 
gerous. But  as  the  young  advance,  and,  after  being  able  to  take  wing  and 
provide  for  themselves,  are  not  disposed  to  fly  off,  the  old  birds  turn  them 
out,  and  beat  them  away  from  them.  They  return  to  the  nest,  however,  to 
roost,  or  sleep  on  the  branches  immediately  near  it,  for  several  weeks  after. 
They  are  fed  most  abundantly  while  under  the  care  of  the  parents,  which 
procure  for  them  ample  supplies  of  fish,  either  accidentally  cast  ashore,  or 
taken  from  the  Fish  Hawk,  together  with  rabbits,  squirrels,  young  lambs, 
pigs,  opossums,  or  racoons.  Every  thing  that  comes  in  the  way  is  relished 
by  the  young  family,  as  by  the  old  birds. 

The  young  birds  begin  to  breed  the  following  spring,  not  always  in  pairs 
of  the  same  age,  as  I  have  several  times  observed  one  of  these  birds  in  brown 
plumage  mated  with  a  full-coloured  bird,  which  had  the  head  and  tail  pure 
white.  I  once  shot  a  pair  of  this  kind,  when  the  brown  bird  (the  young  one) 
proved  to  be  the  female. 

This  species  requires  at  least  four  years  before  it  attains  the  full  beauty  of 
its  plumage  when  kept  in  confinement.  I  have  known  two  instances  in 
which  the  white  of  the  head  did  not  make  its  appearance  until  the  sixth 
spring.  It  is  impossible  for  me  to  say  how  much  sooner  this  state  of  perfec- 
tion is  attained,  when  the  bird  is  at  full  liberty,  although  I  should  suppose  it 
to  be  at  least  one  year,  as  the  bird  is  capable  of  breeding  the  first  spring  after 
birth. 

The  weight  of  Eagles  of  this  species  varies  considerably.  In  the  males, 
it  is  from  six  to  eight  pounds,  and  in  the  females  from  eight  to  twelve. 
These  birds  are  so  attached  to  particular  districts,  where  they  have  first  made 
their  nest,  that  they  seldom  spend  a  night  at  any  distance  from  the  latter, 
and  often  resort  to  its  immediate  neighbourhood.  Whilst  asleep,  they  emit 
a  loud  hissing  sort  of  snore,  which  is  heard  at  the  distance  of  a  hundred 
yards,  when  the  weather  is  perfectly  calm.  Yet,  so  light  is  their  sleep,  that 
the  cracking  of  a  stick  under  the  foot  of  a  person  immediately  wakens  them. 
When  it  is  attempted  to  smoke  them  while  thus  roosted  and  asleep,  they 
start  up  and  sail  off  without  uttering  any  sound,  but  return  next  evening  to 
the  same  spot. 

Before  steam  navigation  commenced  on  our  western  rivers,  these  Eagles 
were  extremely  abundant  there,  particularly  in  the  lower  parts  of  the  Ohio, 
the  Mississippi,  and  the  adjoining  streams.  I  have  seen  hundreds  while 
going  down  from  the  mouth  of  the  Ohio  to  New  Orleans,  when  it  was  not  at 
all  difficult  to  shoot  them.     Now,  however,  their  number  is  considerably 


WHITE-HEADED  OR  BALD  EAGLE.  63 

diminished,  the  game  on  which  they  were  in  the  habit  of  feeding,  having 
been  forced  to  seek  refuge  from  the  persecution  of  man  farther  in  the  wilder- 
ness. Many,  however,  are  still  observed  on  these  rivers,  particularly  along 
the  shores  of  the  Mississippi. 

In  concluding  this  account  of  the  White-headed  Eagle,  suffer  me,  kind 
reader,  to  say  how  much  I  grieve  that  it  should  have  been  selected  as  the 
Emblem  of  my  Country.  The  opinion  of  our  great  Franklin  on  this  subject, 
as  it  perfectly  coincides  with  my  own,  I  shall  here  present  to  you.  "For 
my  part,"  says  he,  in  one  of  his  letters,  "I  wish  the  Bald  Eagle  had  not 
been  chosen  as  the  representative  of  our  country.  He  is  a  bird  of  bad  moral 
character;  he  does  not  get  his  living  honestly;  you  may  have  seen  him 
perched  on  some  dead  tree,  where,  too  lazy  to  fish  for  himself,  he  watches 
the  labour  of  the  Fishing-Hawk;  and  when  that  diligent  bird  has  at  length 
taken  a  fish,  and  is  bearing  it  to  his  nest  for  the  support  of  his  mate  and 
young  ones,  the  Bald  Eagle  pursues  him,  and  takes  it  from  him.  With  all 
this  injustice,  he  is  never  in  good  case,  but,  like  those  among  men  who  live 
by  sharping  and  robbing,  he  is  generally  poor,  and  often  very  lousy.  Besides, 
he  is  a  rank  coward:  the  little  King  Bird,  not  bigger  than  a  Sparrow,  attacks 
him  boldly,  and  drives  him  out  of  the  district.  He  is,  therefore,  by  no 
means  a  proper  emblem  for  the  brave  and  honest  Cincinnati  of  America,  who 
have  driven  all  the  King  Birds  from  our  country;  though  exactly  fit  for  that 
order  of  knights  which  the  French  call  Chevaliers  d' Industrie." 

Bald  Eagle,  Falco  Haliaetus,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  iv.  p.  89.     Adult. 

Sea  Eagle,  Falco  ossifragus,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  vii.  p.  16.     Young. 

Falco  leucocephalus,  Bonap.  Synops.,  p.  26. 

Aquila  leucocephala,  White-headed  Eagle,  Swains.  &  Rich.  F.  Bor.  Amer.,  vol.  ii. 

p.  15. 
White-headed  or  Bald  Eagle,  Falco  leucocephalus,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  72. 
White-headed  Eagle,  Falco  leucocephalus,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  160;  vol.  ii.  p.  160; 

vol.  v.  p.  354. 

Adult  Male. 

Bill  bluish-black,  cere  light  blue,  feet  pale  greyish-blue,  tinged  anteriorly 
with  yellow.  General  colour  of  upper  parts  deep  umber-brown,  the  tail 
barred  with  whitish  on  the  inner  webs;  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  neck 
white,  the  middle  part  of  the  crown  dark  brown;  a  broad  band  of  the  latter 
colour  from  the  bill  down  the  side  of  the  neck;  lower  parts  white,  the  neck 
streaked  with  light  brown;  anterior  tibial  feather  tinged  with  brown.  Young 
with  the  feathers  of  the  upper  parts  broadly  tipped  with  brownish-white,  the 
lower  pure  white. 

Wings  long,  second  quill  longest,  first  considerably  shorter.     Tail  of  ordi- 


(54  THE  FISH  HAWK,  OR  OSPREY. 

nary  length,  much  rounded,  extending  considerably  beyond  the  tips  of  the 
wings;  of  twelve,  broad,  rounded  feathers. 

Bill,  cere,  edge  of  eyebrow,  iris,  and  feet  yellow;  claws  bluish-black.  The 
general  colour  of  the  plumage  is  deep  chocolate,  the  head,  neck,  tail,  abdo- 
men, and  upper  and  under  tail-coverts  white. 

Length  34  inches;  extent  of  wings  7  feet;  bill  along  the  back  2f  inches, 
along  the  under  mandible  2f,  in  depth  1T52;  tarsus  3,  middle  toe  3£. 


Genus  V.— PANDION,  Sav.     OSPREY. 

Bill  short,  as  broad  as  deep  at  the  base,  the  sides  convex,  the  dorsal  outline 
straight  at  the  base,  decurved  towards  the  end;  upper  mandible  with  a  festoon 
on  the  edges  at  the  curvature,  the  tip  trigonal,  very  acute;  lower  mandible 
with  the  edges  slightly  arched,  the  tip  obtusely  truncate.  Nostrils  oval, 
oblique,  large,  half  way  between  the  ridge  and  the  cere.  Legs  rather  long; 
tarsus  very  short,  remarkably  thick,  covered  all  round  with  hexagonal  scales; 
toes  also  remarkably  thick,  the  outer  versatile  larger  than  the  inner,  all 
scutellate  only  towards  the  end,  and  covered  beneath  with  prominent,  conical, 
acuminate  scales;  claws  long,  curved,  convex  beneath,  tapering  to  a  fine  point. 
Plumage  compact,  imbricated;  feathers  of  the  head  and  neck  narrow,  acumi- 
nate; of  the  tarsus  short  and  very  narrow,  without  the  elongated  external 
tufts  seen  in  all  the  other  genera.  Tail  rather  long,  a  little  rounded.  Intes- 
tine extremely  long  and  slender,  its  greatest  width  2\  twelfths,  the  smallest 
h  twelfth. 


THE   FISH    HAWK,    OR    OSPREY. 

Pandion  Haliaetus,  Savig. 
PLATE  XV.— Male. 

The  habits  of  this  famed  bird  differ  so  materially  from  those  of  almost  all 
others  of  its  genus,  that  an  accurate  description  of  them  cannot  fail  to  be 
highly  interesting  to  the  student  of  nature. 

The  Fish  Hawk  may  be  looked  upon  as  having  more  of  a  social  disposition 
than  most  other  Hawks.  Indeed,  with  the  exception  of  the  Swallow-tailed 
Hawk  (Falco/urcatus),  I  know  none  so  gregarious  in  its  habits.  It  migrates 


DL  15. 


ul??ri<nu?n     (*>/??%■//■,  SL//  .Jc  ////-/. 


Drawn  Prom  Nature  by  l.J  tadubon  r".H  ! 


... 


THE  FISH  HAWK,  OR  OSPREY.  65 

in  numbers,  both  during  spring,  when  it  shews  itself  along  our  Atlantic 
shores,  lakes,  and  rivers,  and  during  autumn,  when  it  retires  to  warmer 
climes.  At  these  seasons,  it  appears  in  flocks  of  eight  or  ten  individuals, 
following  the  windings  of  our  shores  in  loose  bodies,  advancing  in  easy  sail- 
ings or  flappings,  crossing  each  other  in  their  gyrations.  During  the  period 
of  their  stay  in  the  United  States,  many  pairs  are  seen  nestling,  rearing  their 
young,  and  seeking  their  food  within  so  short  a  distance  of  each  other,  that 
while  following  the  margins  of  our  eastern  shores,  a  Fish  Hawk,  or  a  nest 
belonging  to  the  species,  may  be  met  with  at  every  short  interval. 

The  Fish  Hawk  may  be  said  to  be  of  a  mild  disposition.  Not  only  do 
these  birds  live  in  perfect  harmony  together,  but  they  even  allow  other  birds 
of  very  different  character  to  approach  so  near  to  them  as  to  build  their  nests 
of  the  very  materials  of  which  the  outer  parts  of  their  own  are  constructed. 
I  have  never  observed  a  Fish  Hawk  chasing  any  other  bird  whatever.  So 
pacific  and  timorous  is  it,  that,  rather  than  encounter  a  foe  but  little  more 
powerful  than  itself,  it  abandons  its  prey  to  the  White-headed  Eagle,  which, 
next  to  man,  is  its  greatest  enemy.  It  never  forces  its  young  from  the  nest, 
as  some  other  Hawks  do,  but,  on  the  contrary,  is  seen  to  feed  them  even 
when  they  have  begun  to  procure  food  for  themselves. 

Notwithstanding  all  these  facts,  a  most  erroneous  idea  prevails  among  our 
fishermen,  and  the  farmers  along  our  coasts,  that  the  Fish  Hawk's  nest  is 
the  best  scare-croiv  they  can  have  in  the  vicinity  of  their  houses  or  grounds. 
As  these  good  people  affirm,  no  Hawk  will  attempt  to  commit  depredations 
on  their  poultry,  so  long  as  the  Fish  Hawk  remains  in  the  country.  But 
the  absence  of  most  birds  of  prey  from  those  parts  at  the  time  when  the  Fish 
Hawk  is  on  our  coast,  arises  simply  from  the  necessity  of  retiring  to  the 
more  sequestered  parts  of  the  interior  for  the  purpose  of  rearing  their  young 
in  security,  and  the  circumstance  of  their  visiting  the  coasts  chiefly  at  the 
period  when  myriads  of  water-fowl  resort  to  our  estuaries  at  the  approach  of 
winter,  leaving  the  shores  and  salt-marshes  at  the  return  of  spring,  when  the 
Fish  Hawk  arrives.  However,  as  this  notion  has  a  tendency  to  protect  the 
latter,  it  may  be  so  far  useful,  the  fisherman  always  interposing  when  he  sees 
a  person  bent  upon  the  destruction  of  his  favourite  bird. 

The  Fish  Hawk  differs  from  all  birds  of  prey  in  another  important  par- 
ticular, which  is,  that  it  never  attempts  to  secure  its  prey  in  the  air,  although 
its  rapidity  of  flight  might  induce  an  observer  to  suppose  it  perfectly  able  to 
do  so.  I  have  spent  weeks  on  the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  where  these  birds  are 
numerous,  and  have  observed  them  sailing  and  plunging  into  the  water,  at  a 
time  when  numerous  shoals  of  flying-fish  were  emerging  from  the  sea  to 
evade  the  pursuit  of  the  dolphins.  Yet  the  Fish  Hawk  never  attempted  to 
pursue  any  of  them  while  above  the  surface,  but  would  plunge  after  one  of 

Vol.  I.  10 


68  THE  FISH  HAWK,  OR  OSPREY. 

before  he  reaches  it,  he  is  seen  to  expand  his  wings  and  tail,  and  in  this 
manner  he  glides  towards  his  beloved  female,  in  a  beautifully  curved  line. 
The  female  partially  raises  herself  from  her  eggs,  emits  a  low  cry,  resumes 
her  former  posture,  and  her  delighted  partner  flies  off  to  the  sea,  to  seek  a 
favourite  fish  for  her  whom  he  loves. 

The  young  are  at  length  hatched.  The  parents  become  more  and  more 
fond  of  them,  as  they  grow  up.  So  truly  parental  becomes  the  attachment 
of  the  old  birds,  that  an  attempt  to  rob  them  of  those  dear  fruits  of  their  love, 
generally  proves  more  dangerous  than  profitable.  Should  it  be  made,  the 
old  birds  defend  their  brood  with  great  courage  and  perseverance,  and  even 
sometimes,  with  extended  claws  and  bill,  come  in  contact  with  the  assailant, 
who  is  glad  to  make  his  escape  with  a  sound  skin. 

The  young  are  fed  until  fully  fledged,  and  often  after  they  have  left  the 
nest,  which  they  do  apparently  with  great  reluctance.  I  have  seen  some  as 
large  as  the  parents,  filling  the  nest,  and  easily  distinguished  by  the  white 
margins  of  their  upper  plumage,  which  may  be  seen  with  a  good  glass  at  a 
considerable  distance.  So  much  fish  is  at  times  carried  to  the  nest,  that  a 
quantity  of  it  falls  to  the  ground,  and  is  left  there  to  putrify  around  the  foot 
of  the  tree.      Only  one  brood  is  raised  each  season. 

The  Fish  Hawk  seldom  alights  on  the  ground,  and  when  it  does  so,  walks 
with  difficulty,  and  in  an  extremely  awkward  manner.  The  only  occasions 
on  which  it  is  necessary  for  them  to  alight,  are  when  they  collect  materials 
for  the  purpose  of  repairing  their  nest,  or  for  building  a  new  one,  in  spring. 

I  have  found  this  bird  in  various  parts  of  the  interior  of  the  United  States, 
but  always  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  rivers  or  lakes.  When  I  first 
removed  to  Louisville  in  Kentucky,  several  pairs  were  in  the  habit  of  raising 
their  brood  annually  on  a  piece  of  ground  immediately  opposite  the  foot  of 
the  Falls  of  the  Ohio  in  the  State  of  Indiana.  The  ground  belonged  to  the 
venerable  General  Clark,  and  I  was  several  times  invited  by  him  to  visit 
the  spot.  Increasing  population,  however,  has  driven  off  the  birds,  and  few 
are  now  seen  on  the  Ohio,  unless  during  their  migrations  to  and  from  Lake 
Erie,  where  I  have  met  with  them. 

I  have  observed  many  of  these  birds  at  the  approach  of  winter,  sailing 
over  the  lakes  near  the  Mississippi,  where  they  feed  on  the  fish  which  the 
Wood  Ibis  kills,  the  Hawks  themselves  being  unable  to  discover  them  whilst 
alive  in  the  muddy  water  with  which  these  lakes  are  filled.  There  the 
Ibises  wade  among  the  water  in  immense  flocks,  and  so  trample  the  bottom 
as  to  convert  the  lakes  into  filthy  puddles,  in  which  the  fishes  are  unable  to 
respire  with  ease.  They  rise  to  the  surface,  and  are  instantly  killed  by  the 
Ibises.  The  whole  surface  is  sometimes  covered  in  this  manner  with  dead 
fish,  so  that  not  only  are  the  Ibises  plentifully  supplied,  but  Vultures,  Eagles 


THE  FISH  HAWK,  OR  OSPREY.  69 

and  Fish  Hawks  come  to  participate  in  the  spoil.  Except  in  such  places, 
and  on  such  occasions,  I  have  not  observed  the  Fish  Hawk  to  eat  of  any- 
other  prey  than  that  which  it  had  procured  by  plunging  headlong  into  the 
water  after  it. 

I  have  frequently  heard  it  asserted  that  the  Fish  Hawk  is  sometimes  drawn 
under  the  water  and  drowned,  when  it  has  attempted  to  seize  a  fish  which  is 
too  strong  for  it,  and  that  some  of  these  birds  have  been  found  sticking  by 
their  talons  to  the  back  of  Sturgeons  and  other  large  fishes.  But,  as  nothing 
of  this  kind  ever  came  under  my  observation,  I  am  unable  to  corroborate 
these  reports.  The  roosting  place  of  this  bird  is  generally  on  the  top 
branches  of  the  tree  on  which  its  nest  is  placed,  or  of  one  close  to  it. 

Fish  Hawks  are  very  plentiful  on  the  coast  of  New  Jersey,  near  Great 
Egg  Harbour,  where  I  have  seen  upwards  of  fifty  of  their  nests  in  the  course 
of  a  day's  walk,  and  where  I  have  shot  several  in  the  course  of  a  morning. 
When  wounded,  they  defend  themselves  in  the  manner  usually  exhibited  by 
Hawks,  erecting  the  feathers  of  the  head,  and  trying  to  strike  with  their 
powerful  talons  and  bill,  whilst  they  remain  prostrate  on  their  back. 

The  largest  fish  which  I  have  seen  this  bird  take  out  of  the  water,  was  a 
Weak-Fish,  such  as  is  represented  in  the  plate,  but  sufficiently  large  to  weigh 
more  than  five  pounds.  The  bird  carried  it  into  the  air  with  difficulty,  and 
dropped  it,  on  hearing  the  report  of  a  shot  fired  at  it. 

Fish  Hawk,  Fako  Haliaetus,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  v.  p.  13. 

Falco  Haliaetus,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  26. 

Fish  Hawk  or  Osprey,  Fako  Haliaetus,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  415;  vol.  v.  p.  362. 

Bill  brownish-black,  blue  at  the  base  and  margin;  cere  light  blue.  Iris 
yellow.  Feet  pale  greyish-blue,  tinged  with  brown;  claws  black.  The 
general  colour  of  the  upper  parts  is  dusky  brown,  the  tail  barred  with  pale 
brown.  The  upper  part  of  the  head  and  neck  white,  the  middle  part  of  the 
crown  dark  brown.  A  broad  band  of  the  latter  colour  from  the  bill  down 
the  side  of  the  neck  on  each  side.  Under  parts  of  the  neck  brownish-white, 
streaked  with  dark  brown.  Under  parts  generally  white.  Anterior  tarsal 
feathers  tinged  with  brown. 

Length  23  inches;  extent  of  wings  54;  bill  along  the  back  2;  tarsus  2f, 
middle  toe  3. 


Vol.  I.  11 


70 


Genus  VI.— ELANUS,  Sav. 

Bill  short,  small,  very  wide  at  the  base,  much  compressed  toward  the  end; 
upper  mandible  with  the  dorsal  line  convex  and  declinate  to  the  end  of  the 
cere,  then  decurved,  the  sides  slightly  convex,  the  tip  narrow  and  acute,  the 
edges  with  a  distinct  festoon,  lower  mandible  with  the  angle  very  wide  and 
long,  the  dorsal  line  very  short,  and  slightly  convex,  the  tip  obliquely  trun- 
cate, and  narrow.  Nostrils  elliptical,  rather  large,  about  half-way  between 
the  cere  and  ridge.  Head  rather  large,  broad,  flattened  above;  neck  short; 
body  compact.  Legs  rather  short;  tarsus  very  short,  stout,  roundish,  feathered 
anteriorly  for  half  its  length,  the  rest  covered  with  small  roundish  scales; 
toes  short,  thick,  scaly,  with  a  few  terminal  scutella;  claws  long,  curved, 
conical,  rounded  beneath,  acute.  Plumage  very  soft,  and  rather  blended. 
Wings  very  long  and  pointed,  the  second  quill  longest.  Tail  of  moderate 
breadth,  long,  emarginate,  and  rounded. 


BLACK -SHOULDERED    HAWK. 

Elanus  dispar,  Tern. 

PLATE  XVI Male  and  Female. 

I  have  traced  the  migration  of  this  beautiful  Hawk  from  the  Texas  as  far 
east  as  the  mouth  of  the  Santee  River  in  South  Carolina.  Charles  Bona- 
parte first  introduced  it  into  our  Fauna,  on  the  authority  of  a  specimen 
procured  in  East  Florida  by  Titian  Peale,  Esq.,  of  Philadelphia,  who  it 
seems  had  some  difficulty  in  obtaining  it.  On  the  8th  of  February,  1S34,  I 
received  one  of  these  birds  alive  from  Dr.  Ravenel,  of  Charleston,  who  had 
kept  it  in  his  yard  for  eight  days  previously,  without  being  able  to  induce  it 
to  take  any  food.  The  beauty  of  its  large  eyes  struck  me  at  once,  and  I 
immediately  made  a  drawing  of  the  bird,  which  was  the  first  I  had  ever  seen 
alive.  It  proved  to  be  a  male,  and  was  in  beautiful  plumage.  Dr.  Ravenel 
told  me  that  it  walked  about  his  yard  with  tolerable  ease,  although  one  of  its 
wings  had  been  injured.  On  the  23d  of  the  same  month  I  received  another 
fine  specimen,  a  female,  from  Francis  Lee,  Esq.,  who  had  procured  it  on 
his  plantation,  forty  miles  west  of  Charleston,  and  with  it  the  following  note. 
"When  first  observed,  it  was  perched  on  a  tree  in  an  erect  posture.     I  saw 


IT?  4. 


PI  16. 


Sj/f/cA-  -<;//<  '/{/(/■(/'<-(/        t     /(?// 


'<?//{/ J 


Drawn  from  Nature  by  -1  3.Auduboii  F.F 


wen  Hula*** 


BLACK-SHOULDERED  HAWK.  71 

at  once  that  it  was  one  of  the  birds  which  you  had  desired  me  to  procure  for 
you,  and  went  to  the  house  for  my  gun.  On  returning  I  saw  the  Hawk  very 
high  in  the  air,  sailing  beautifully  over  a  large  wet  meadow,  where  many 
Common  Snipes  were  feeding.  It  would  now  and  then  poise  itself  for  a 
while,  in  the  manner  of  our  Little  Sparrow  Hawk,  and  suddenly  closing  its 
wings  plunge  towards  its  prey  with  great  velocity,  making  a  rumbling  noise 
as  it  passed  through  the  air.  Now  and  then,  when  about  half  way,  it  suddenly 
checked  its  descent,  recommenced  hovering,  and  at  last  marking  its  prey, 
rushed  upon  it  and  secured  it.  Its  cries,  on  being  wounded,  so  much  resem- 
bled those  of  the  Mississippi  Kite,  that  I  thought,  as  I  was  going  to  pick  it 
up,  that  I  had  only  got  one  of  that  species.  It  was  so  shy  that  I  was  obliged 
to  get  on  horseback  before  I  could  approach  it  within  gun  shot." 

Mr.  H.  Ward,  who  accompanied  me  on  my  expedition  to  the  Floridas, 
found  this  species  breeding  on  the  plantation  of  Alexander  Mayzck,  Esq., 
on  the  Santee  River,  early  in  the  month  of  March,  and  shot  three,  two  of 
which,  a  male  and  a  female,  are  now  in  my  possession.  Their  nests  were 
placed  on  low  trees  near  the  margins  of  the  river,  and  resembled  those  of  the 
American  Crow,  but  had  none  of  the  substantial  lining  of  that  bird's  nest. 
Mr.  Ward  states,  that  at  this  time  they  were  seen  flying  over  the  cane 
brakes  in  pursuit  of  large  insects,  somewhat  in  the  manner  of  the  Mississippi 
Kite,  and  that  they  were  very  shy. 

My  friend  John  Bachman  has  seen  this  species  fly  in  groups,  at  a  very 
great  height,  in  the  beginning  of  March,  and  thinks  that  it  is  only  of  late 
years  that  they  have  located  themselves  in  South  Carolina,  where,  however, 
five  of  them  have  been  procured  in  one  year. 

The  Black-shouldered  Hawk  appears  to  give  a  decided  preference  to  low 
lands,  not  distant  from  the  shores  of  the  Atlantic.  On  our  way  toward  the 
Texas,  several  of  these  birds  were  seen  over  the  large  marshes,  flying  at  a 
small  elevation,  and  coursing  in  search  of  prey,  much  in  the  manner  of  the 
Hen-harrier  or  Marsh  Hawk,  but  all  evidently  bent  on  proceeding  to  the 
eastward.  Whether  this  species  winters  there  or  not,  I  am  unable  to  say, 
but  that  some  remain  all  the  year  in  Florida,  and  even  in  South  Carolina,  I 
am  quite  confident. 

The  difference  between  the  food  of  this  species  and  that  of  the  Mississippi 
Kite  is  surprising  to  me.  I  have  never  seen  the  latter  seize  any  bird,  whereas 
the  Black-shouldered  Hawk  certainly  does  so,  as  in  the  stomachs  of  two 
individuals  which  I  examined  were  remains  of  birds  as  well  as  of  coleopterous 
insects.  These  two  birds  agree  nearly  with  the  description  of  the  one  pro- 
cured by  Mr.  Titian  Peale,  excepting  in  the  length  of  the  wings,  which 
in  them  and  in  several  others  that  have  come  under  my  notice,  have  their 
tips  fully  an  inch  shorter  than  the  end  of  the  tail.    A  breeding  female  differed 


74  THE  MISSISSIPPI  KITE. 

mer  residence;  when  numberless  insects,  cramped  in  their  hanging  shells, 
are  impatiently  waiting  for  the  full  expansion  of  their  wings;  when  the 
vernal  flowers,  so  welcome  to  all,  swell  out  their  bursting  leaflets,  and  the 
rich-leaved  Magnolia  opens  its  pure  blossoms  to  the  Humming  Bird; — then 
look  up,  and  you  will  see  the  Mississippi  Kite,  as  he  comes  sailing  over  the 
scene.  He  glances  towards  the  earth  with  his  fiery  eye;  sweeps  along,  now 
with  the  gentle  breeze,  now  against  it;  seizes  here  and  there  the  high-flying 
giddy  bug,  and  allays  his  hunger  without  fatigue  to  wing  or  talon.  Suddenly 
he  spies  some  creeping  thing,  that  changes,  like  the  chameleon,  from  vivid 
green  to  dull  brown,  to  escape  his  notice.  It  is  the  red-throated  panting 
lizard  that  has  made  its  way  to  the  highest  branch  of  a  tree  in  quest  of  food. 
Casting  upwards  a  sidelong  look  of  fear,  it  remains  motionless,  so  well  does 
it  know  the  prowess  of  the  bird  of  prey:  but  its  caution  is  vain;  it  has  been 
perceived,  its  fate  is  sealed,  and  the  next  moment  it  is  swept  away. 

The  Mississippi  Kite  thus  extends  its  migrations  as  high  as  the  city  of 
Memphis,  on  the  noble  stream  whose  name  it  bears,  and  along  our  eastern 
shores  to  the  Carolinas,  where  it  now  and  then  breeds,  feeding  the  while  on 
lizards,  small  snakes,  and  beetles.  At  times,  congregating  to  the  number  of 
twenty  or  more,  these  birds  are  seen  sweeping  around  some  tree,  catching 
the  large  locusts  which  abound  in  those  countries  at  an  early  part  of  the 
season,  and  reminding  one  of  the  Chimney  Swallows,  which  are  so  often 
seen  performing  similar  evolutions,  when  endeavouring  to  snap  off  the  little 
dried  twigs  of  which  their  nests  are  composed. 

Early  in  May,  the  thick-leaved  Bay-Tree  {Magnolia  grandijlora),  affords 
in  its  high  tops  a  place  of  safety,  in  which  the  Hawk  of  the  South  may  raise 
its  young.  These  are  out  by  the  end  of  July,  and  are  fed  by  the  parent 
birds  until  well  practised  in  the  art  of  procuring  subsistence.  About  the 
middle  of  August,  they  all  wing  their  way  southward. 

The  affection  which  the  old  birds  display  towards  their  young,  and  the 
methods  which  they  occasionally  employ  to  insure  the  safety  of  the  latter, 
are  so  remarkable,  that,  before  I  proceed  to  describe  their  general  habits,  I 
shall  relate  a  case  in  which  I  was  concerned. 

Early  one  morning,  whilst  I  was  admiring  the  beauties  of  nature,  as  the 
vegetable  world  lay  embalmed  in  dew,  I  heard  the  cry  of  a  bird  that  I 
mistook  for  that  of  a  Pewee  Flycatcher.  It  was  prolonged,  I  thought,  as  if 
uttered  in  distress.  After  looking  for  the  bird  a  long  time  in  vain,  an  object 
which  I  had  at  first  supposed  to  be  something  that  had  accidentally  lodged 
in  a  branch,  attracted  my  attention,  as  I  thought  I  perceived  it  moving.  It 
did  move  distinctly,  and  the  cry  that  had  ceased  from  the  time  when  I  reached 
the  spot  where  I  stood,  was  repeated,  evidently  coming  from  the  object  in 
view.     I  now  took  it  for  a  young  Chuck-Will's-Widow,  as  it  sat  lengthwise 


U?  4>. 


PI.  7. 


<*.sr 


■^j.zAv^ 


J&tteU^tJU 


Drawn  from  Nature  by  J.J  Audijbon.r'.H.S.r'X.S. 


L.iiM  Printed  fcColrby  J.T.lJ'jwen.Fliilad" 


THE  MISSISSIPPI  KITE.  77 

poor  birds,  seeing  their  tenement  cast  down  to  the  ground,  continued  sweep- 
ing around  us  so  low  and  so  long,  that  I  could  not  resist  the  temptation  thus 
offered  of  shooting  them. 

The  Mississippi  Kite  is  by  no  means  a  shy  bird,  and  one  may  generally 
depend  on  getting  near  it  when  alighted;  but  to  follow  it  while  on  wing 
were  useless,  its  flight  being  usually  so  elevated,  and  its  sweeps  over  a  field 
or  wood  so  rapid  and  varied,  that  you  might  spend  many  hours  in  vain  in 
attempting  to  get  up  with  it.  Even  when  alighted,  it  perches  so  high,  that 
I  have  sometimes  shot  at  it,  without  producing  any  other  effect  than  that  of 
causing  it  to  open  its  wings  and  close  them  again,  as  if  utterly  ignorant  of 
the  danger  to  which  it  had  been  exposed,  while  it  seemed  to  look  down  upon 
me  quite  unconcerned.  When  wounded^,  it  comes  to  the  ground  with  great 
force,  and  seldom  attempts  to  escape,  choosing  rather  to  defend  itself,  which 
it  does  to  the  last,  by  throwing  itself  on  its  back,  erecting  the  feathers  of  its 
head,  screaming  loudly  in  the  manner  of  the  Pigeon  Hawk,  disgorging  the 
contents  of  its  stomach,  stretching  out  its  talons,  and  biting  or  clenching  with 
great  vigour.     It  is  extremely  muscular,  the  flesh  tough  and  rigid. 

These  birds  at  times  search  for  food  so  far  from  the  spot  where  their  nest 
has  been  placed,  that  I  have  on  several  occasions  been  obliged  to  follow  their 
course  over  the  woods,  as  if  in  search  of  a  wild  bee's  hive,  before  I  could 
discover  it.  There  is  scarcely  any  perceptible  difference  between  the  sexes 
as  to  size,  and  in  colour  they  are  precisely  similar,  only  the  female  has  less 
of  the  ferruginous  colour  on  her  primaries  than  the  male.  The  stomach  is 
thin,  rugous,  and  of  a  deep  orange  colour. 

Mississippi  Kite,  Falco  Mississippiensis,  Wils.  Araer.  Orn.,  vol.  iii.  p.  80. 

Falco  plumbeus,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  90. 

Mississippi  Kite,  Falco  plumbeus,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  ii.  p.  108,  vol.  v.  p.  374. 

Adult  male. 

Wings  long  and  pointed,  the  third  quill  longest.  Tail  long,  straight, 
retuse. 

Bill  black,  as  are  the  cere,  lore,  and  a  narrow  band  round  the  eye.  Iris 
blood-red.  Feet  purplish,  the  scutella  deep  red;  claws  black.  The  head, 
the  neck  all  round,  and  the  under  parts  in  general  bluish-white.  The  back 
and  wing-coverts  are  of  a  dark  leaden  colour,  the  ends  of  the  secondary 
coverts  white.  The  primaries  black,  margined  externally  with  bright  bay; 
the  tail  also  deep  black,  as  is  the  rump. 

Length  14  inches;  extent  of  wings  36;  bill  along  the  ridge  \\,  along  the 
edge  \h  tarsus  If. 


78  THE  SWALLOW-TAILED  HAWK. 

Adult  Female. 

The  female  differs  little  from  the  male  in  colour,  and  is  not  much  larger. 

Length  15  inches. 


Genus  VIII.— NAUCLERUS,   Vig.    SWALLOW-TAILED  HAWK. 

Bill  short,  wide  at  the  base,  much  compressed  toward  the  end;  upper 
mandible  with  the  dorsal  line  decurved  from  the  base,  the  sides  slightly 
convex,  the  edges  with  a  slight  festoon,  the  tip  narrow  and  acute;  lower 
mandible  with  the  angle  very  wide,1,he  dorsal  line  straightish,  the  tip  round- 
ed and  declinate.  Nostrils  round,  with  a  central  papilla.  Head  rather  large, 
roundish,  flattened;  neck  short;  body  compact.  Feet  short;  tarsus  very 
short,  thick,  scaly  all  round;  toes  scutellate  above,  scabrous  beneath,  with 
pointed  papillae;  claws  rather  long,  curved,  acuminate.  Plumage  blended, 
glossy.  Wings  extremely  long,  pointed,  the  third  quill  longest;  secondaries 
short.     Tail  extremely  long,  very  deeply  forked. 


THE   SWALLOW-TAILED   HAWK. 

NArCLERtTS  FURCATITS,  Linn. 

PLATE  XVIII.— Male. 

The  flight  of  this  elegant  species  of  Hawk  is  singularly  beautiful  and 
protracted.  It  moves  through  the  air  with  such  ease  and  grace,  that  it  is 
impossible  for  any  individual,  who  takes  the  least  pleasure  in  observing  the 
manners  of  birds,  not  to  be  delighted  by  the  sight  of  it  whilst  on  wing. 
Gliding  along  in  easy  flappings,  it  rises  in  wide  circles  to  an  immense  height, 
inclining  in  various  ways  its  deeply  forked  tail,  to  assist  the  direction  of  its 
course,  dives  with  the  rapidity  of  lightning,  and,  suddenly  checking  itself, 
reascends,  soars  away,  and  is  soon  out  of  sight.  At  other  times  a  flock  of 
these  birds,  amounting  to  fifteen  or  twenty  individuals,  is  seen  hovering 
around  the  trees.  They  dive  in  rapid  succession  amongst  the  branches, 
glancing  along  the  trunks,  and  seizing  in  their  course  the  insects  and  small 
lizards  of  which  they  are  in  quest.  Their  motions  are  astonishingly  rapid, 
and  the  deep  curves  which  they  describe,  their  sudden  doublings  and  cross- 


00 

3 


O- 


THE  SWALLOW-TAILED  HAWK.  79 

ings,  and  the  extreme  ease  with  which  they  seem  to  cleave  the  air,  excite  the 
admiration  of  him  who  views  them  while  thus  employed  in  searching  for  food. 

A  solitary  individual  of  this  species  has  once  or  twice  been  seen  in  Penn- 
sylvania. Farther  to  the  eastward,  the  Swallow-tailed  Hawk  has  never,  I 
believe,  been  observed.  Travelling  southward,  along  the  Atlantic  coast,  we 
find  it  in  Virginia,  although  in  very  small  numbers.  Beyond  that  State  it 
becomes  more  abundant.  Near  the  Falls  of  the  Ohio,  a  pair  had  a  nest  and 
reared  four  young  ones,  in  1820.  In  the  lower  parts  of  Kentucky  it  begins 
to  become  more  numerous;  but  in  the  States  farther  to  the  south,  and  par- 
ticularly in  parts  near  the  sea,  it  is  abundant.  In  the  large  prairies  of  the 
Attacapas  and  Oppellousas  it  is  extremely  common. 

In  the  States  of  Louisiana  and  Mississippi,  where  these  birds  are  abundant, 
they  arrive  in  large  companies,  in  the  beginning  of  April,  and  are  heard 
uttering  a  sharp  plaintive  note.  At  this  period  I  generally  remarked  that 
they  came  from  the  westward,  and  have  counted  upwards  of  a  hundred  in 
the  space  of  an  hour,  passing  over  me  in  a  direct  easterly  course.  At  that 
season,  and  in  the  beginning  of  September,  when  they  all  retire  from  the 
United  States,  they  are  easily  approached  when  they  have  alighted,  being 
then  apparently  fatigued,  and  busily  engaged  in  preparing  themselves  for 
continuing  their  journey,  by  dressing  and  oiling  their  feathers.  At  all  other 
times,  however,  it  is  extremely  difficult  to  get  near  them,  as  they  are  gene- 
rally on  wing  through  the  day,  and  at  night  rest  on  the  highest  pines  and 
cypresses,  bordering  the  river-bluffs,  the  lakes  or  the  swamps  of  that  district 
of  country. 

They  always  feed  on  the  wing.  In  calm  and  warm  weather,  they  soar  to 
an  immense  height,  pursuing  the  large  insects  called  Musquito  Hawks,  and 
performing  the  most  singular  evolutions  that  can  be  conceived,  using  their 
tail  with  an  elegance  of  motion  peculiar  to  themselves.  Their  principal  food, 
however,  is  large  grasshoppers,  grass-caterpillars,  small  snakes,  lizards,  and 
frogs.  They  sweep  close  over  the  fields,  sometimes  seeming  to  alight  for  a 
moment  to  secure  a  snake,  and  holding  it  fast  by  the  neck,  carry  it  off,  and 
devour  it  in  the  air.  When  searching  for  grasshoppers  and  caterpillars,  it  is 
not  difficult  to  approach  them  under  cover  of  a  fence  or  tree.  When  one  is 
then  killed  and  falls  to  the  ground,  the  whole  flock  comes  over  the  dead  bird, 
as  if  intent  upon  carrying  it  off.  An  excellent  opportunity  is  thus  afforded 
of  shooting  as  many  as  may  be  wanted,  and  I  have  killed  several  of  these 
Hawks  in  this  manner,  firing  as  fast  as  I  could  load  my  gun. 

The  Fork-tailed  Hawks  are  also  very  fond  of  frequenting  the  creeks, 
which,  in  that  country,  are  much  encumbered  with  drifted  logs  and  accumu- 
lations of  sand,  in  order  to  pick  up  some  of  the  numerous  water-snakes  which 
lie  basking  in  the  sun.     At  other  times,  they  clash  along  the  trunks  of  trees, 


§0  THE  SWALLOW-TAILED  HAWK. 

and  snap  off  the  pupse  of  the  locust,  or  that  insect  itself.  Although  when  on 
wing  they  move  with  a  grace  and  ease  which  it  is  impossible  to  describe,  yet 
on  the  ground  they  are  scarcely  able  to  walk. 

I  kept  for  several  days  one  which  had  been  slightly  wounded  in  the  wing. 
It  refused  to  eat,  kept  the  feathers  of  the  head  and  rump  constantly  erect, 
and  vomited  several  times  part  of  the  contents  of  its  stomach.  It  never 
threw  itself  on  its  back,  nor  attempted  to  strike  with  its  talons,  unless  when 
taken  up  by  the  tip  of  the  wing.  It  died  from  inanition,  as  it  constantly 
refused  the  food  placed  before  it  in  profusion,  and  instantly  vomited  what 
had  been  thrust  down  its  throat. 

The  Swallow-tailed  Hawk  pairs  immediately  after  its  arrival  in  the 
Southern  States,  and  as  its  courtships  take  place  on  the  wing,  its  motions  are 
then  more  beautiful  than  ever.  The  nest  is  usually  placed  on  the  top  branches 
of  the  tallest  oak  or  pine  tree,  situated  on  the  margin  of  a  stream  or  pond. 
It  resembles  that  of  the  Common  Crow  externally,  being  formed  of  dry 
sticks,  intermixed  with  Spanish  moss,  and  is  lined  with  coarse  grasses  and  a 
few  feathers.  The  eggs  are  from  four  to  six,  of  a  greenish- white  colour, 
with  a  few  irregular  blotches  of  dark  brown  at  the  larger  end.  The  male 
and  the  female  sit  alternately,  the  one  feeding  the  other.  The  young  are  at 
first  covered  with  buff-coloured  down.  Their  next  covering  exhibits  the 
pure  white  and  black  of  the  old  birds,  but  without  any  of  the  glossy  purplish 
tints  of  the  latter.  The  tail,  which  at  first  is  but  slightly  forked,  becomes 
more  so  in  a  few  weeks,  and  at  the  approach  of  autumn  exhibits  little  differ- 
ence from  that  of  the  adult  birds.  The  plumage  is  completed  the  first  spring. 
Only  one  brood  is  raised  in  the  season.  The  species  leaves  the  United  States 
in  the  beginning  of  September,  moving  off  in  flocks,  which  are  formed 
immediately  after  the  breeding  season  is  over. 

Hardly  any  difference  as  to  external  appearance  exists  between  the  sexes. 
They  never  attack  birds  or  quadrupeds  of  any  species,  with  the  view  of 
preying  upon  them.  I  never  saw  one  alight  on  the  ground.  They  secure 
their  prey  as  they  pass  closely  over  it,  and  in  so  doing  sometimes  seem  to 
alight,  particularly  when  securing  a  snake.  The  common  name  of  the  Snake 
represented  in  the  plate  is  the  Garter  Snake. 

Swallow-tailed  Hawk,  Fako furcatus,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  vi.  p.  70. 

Falco  fcrcatus,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  31. 

Swallow-tailed  Hawk,  Falco  furcatus,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  368;  vol.  v.  p.  371. 

Adult  Male. 

Wings  very  long  and  acute,  the  third  quill  longest,  the  first  equal  to  the 
fifth,  the  primaries  widely  graduated,  the  secondaries  comparatively  very 


N°4 


PI.  19 


from  (feiure  by  J  JAuuiu 


THE  GREAT-FOOTED  HAWK.  85 

The  Great-Footed  Hawk,  or  Peregrine  Falcon,  is  now  frequently  to  be 
met  with  in  the  United  States,  but  within  my  remembrance  it  was  a  very 
scarce  species  in  America.  I  can  well  recollect  the  time  when,  if  I  shot  one 
or  two  individuals  of  the  species  in  the  course  of  a  whole  winter,  I  thought 
myself  a  fortunate  mortal;  whereas  of  late  years  I  have  shot  two  in  one  day, 
and  perhaps  a  dozen  in  the  course  of  a  winter.  It  is  quite  impossible  for  me 
to  account  for  this  increase  in  their  number,  the  more  so  that  our  plantations 
have  equally  increased,  and  we  have  now  three  gunners  for  every  one  that 
existed  twenty  years  ago,  and  all  of  them  ready  to  destroy  a  hawk  of  any 
kind  whenever  an  occasion  presents  itself. 

The  flight  of  this  bird  is  of  astonishing  rapidity.  It  is  scarcely  ever  seen 
sailing,  unless  after  being  disappointed  in  its  attempt  to  secure  the  prey 
which  it  has  been  pursuing,  and  even  at  such  times  it  merely  rises  with  a 
broad  spiral  circuit,  to  attain  a  sufficient  elevation  to  enable  it  to  reconnoitre 
a  certain  space  below.  It  then  emits  a  cry  much  resembling  that  of  the 
Sparrow  Hawk,  but  greatly  louder,  like  that  of  the  European  Kestrel,  and 
flies  off  swiftly  in  quest  of  plunder.  The  search  is  often  performed  with  a 
flight  resembling  that  of  the  tame  pigeon,  until  perceiving  an  object,  it 
redoubles  its  flappings,  and  pursues  the  fugitive  with  a  rapidity  scarcely  to 
be  conceived.  Its  turnings,  windings  and  cuttings  through  the  air  are  now 
surprising.  It  follows  and  nears  the  timorous  quarry  at  every  turn  and  back- 
cutting  which  the  latter  attempts.  Arrived  within  a  few  feet  of  the  prey, 
the  Falcon  is  seen  protruding  his  powerful  legs  and  talons  to  their  full  stretch. 
His  wings  are  for  a  moment  almost  closed;  the  next  instant  he  grapples  the 
prize,  which,  if  too  weighty  to  be  carried  off  directly,  he  forces  obliquely 
toward  the  ground,  sometimes  a  hundred  yards  from  where  it  was  seized,  to 
kill  it,  and  devour  it  on  the  spot.  Should  this  happen  over  a  large  extent 
of  water,  the  Falcon  drops  his  prey,  and  sets  off  in  quest  of  another.  On  the 
contrary,  should  it  not  prove  too  heavy,  the  exulting  bird  carries  it  off  to  a 
sequestered  and  secure  place.  He  pursues  the  smaller  Ducks,  Water-hens, 
and  other  swimming  birds,  and  if  they  are  not  quick  in  diving,  seizes  them, 
and  rises  with  them  from  the  water.  I  have  seen  this  Hawk  come  at  the 
report  of  a  gun,  and  carry  off  a  Teal  not  thirty  steps  distant  from  the  sports- 
man who  had  killed  it,  with  a  daring  assurance  as  surprising  as  unexpected. 
This  conduct  has  been  observed  by  many  individuals,  and  is  a  characteristic 
trait  of  the  species.  The  largest  duck  that  I  have  seen  this  bird  attack  and 
grapple  with  on  the  wing  is  the  Mallard. 

The  Great-footed  Hawk  does  not,  however,  content  himself  with  water- 
fowl. He  is  sometimes  seen  following  flocks  of  Pigeons  and  even  Blackbirds. 
For  several  days  I  watched  one  of  them  that  had  taken  a  particular  fancy  to 
some  tame  pigeons,  to  secure  which  it  went  so  far  as  to  enter  their  house  at 


86  THE  GREAT-FOOTED  HAWK. 

one  of  the  holes,  seize  a  bird,  and  issue  by  another  hole  in  an  instant,  causing 
such  terror  among  the  rest  as  to  render  me  fearful  that  they  would  abandon 
the  place.     However,  I  fortunately  shot  the  depredator. 

They  occasionally  feed  on  dead  fish  that  have  floated  to  the  shores  or  sand 
bars.  I  saw  several  of  them  thus  occupied  while  descending  the  Mississippi 
on  a  journey  undertaken  expressly  for  the  purpose  of  observing  and  procur- 
ing different  specimens  of  birds,  and  which  lasted  four  months,  as  I  followed 
the  windings  of  that  great  river,  floating  down  it  only  a  few  miles  daily. 
During  that  period,  I  and  my  companion  counted  upwards  of  fifty  of  these 
Hawks,  and  killed  several,  among  which  was  the  female  represented  in  the 
plate  now  before  you,  and  which  was  found  to  contain  in  its  stomach  bones 
of  birds,  a  few  downy  feathers,  the  gizzard  of  a  Teal,  and  the  eyes  and  many 
scales  of  a  fish.  It  was  shot  on  the  26th  December,  1S20.  The  ovary  con- 
tained numerous  eggs,  two  of  which  were  as  large  as  peas. 

Whilst  in  quest  of  food,  the  Great-footed  Hawk  will  frequently  alight  on 
the  highest  dead  branch  of  a  tree  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  such 
wet  or  marshy  grounds  as  the  Common  Snipe  resorts  to  by  preference.  His 
head  is  seen  moving  in  short  starts,  as  if  he  were  counting  every  little  space 
below;  and  while  so  engaged,  the  moment  he  spies  a  Snipe,  down  he  darts 
like  an  arrow,  making  a  rustling  noise  with  his  wings  that  may  be  heard 
several  hundred  yards  off,  seizes  the  Snipe,  and  flies  away  to  some  near  wood 
to  devour  it. 

It  is  a  cleanly  bird,  in  respect  to  feeding.  No  sooner  is  the  prey  dead 
than  the  Falcon  turns  its  belly  upward,  and  begins  to  pluck  it  with  his  bill, 
which  he  does  very  expertly,  holding  it  meantime  quite  fast  in  his  talons; 
and  as  soon  as  a  portion  is  cleared  of  feathers,  tears  the  flesh  in  large  pieces, 
and  swallows  it  with  great  avidity.  If  it  is  a  large  bird,  he  leaves  the  refuse 
parts,  but,  if  small,  swallows  the  whole  in  pieces.  Should  he  be  approached 
by  an  enemy,  he  rises  with  it  and  flies  off  into  the  interior  of  the  woods,  or 
if  he  happens  to  be  in  a  meadow,  to  some  considerable  distance,  he  being 
more  wary  at  such  times  than  when  he  has  alighted  on  a  tree. 

The  Great-footed  Hawk  is  a  heavy,  compact,  and  firmly  built  bird  for  its 
size,  and  when  arrived  at  maturity,  extremely  muscular,  with  very  tough 
flesh.  The  plumage  differs  greatly  according  to  age.  I  have  seen  it  vary  in 
different  individuals,  from  the  deepest  chocolate-brown  to  light  grey.  Their 
grasp  is  so  firm,  that  should  one  be  hit  while  perched,  and  not  shot  quite 
dead,  it  will  cling  to  the  branch  until  life  has  departed. 

Like  most  other  Hawks,  this  is  a  solitary  bird,  except  during  the  breeding, 
season,  at  the  beginning  of  which  it  is  seen  in  pairs.      Their  season  of  breed- 
ing is  so  very  early,  that  it  might  be  said  to  be  in  winter.     I  have  seen  the 
male  caressing  the  female  as  early  as  the  first  days  of  December. 


1°  5 


PL  21 


■V^W 


<Jtt6&?7?/. 


iraw,,  fr™  Ito^  ^  j  j  Audubon  vKS  >-L  s 


Lnh*  Prinwri  *C<rt*br  J  T  Borfm,  PhiJaof 


PIGEON  HAWK.  89 

white,  and  from  two  to  four  in  number,  as  well  as  the  situation  of  its  nest, 
as  given  in  his  Notes  on  the  Hudson's  Bay  Birds,  is  greatly  at  variance  with 
my  own  observations.  The  eggs  in  three  instances,  which  occurred  at 
Labrador,  were  five;  they  measured  an  inch  and  three-quarters  in  length, 
an  inch  and  a  quarter  in  breadth,  and  were  rather  elongated;  their  ground 
colour  a  dull  yellowish-brown,  thickly  clouded  with  irregular  blotches  of 
dull  dark  reddish-brown.  In  that  country  they  are  laid  about  the  first  of 
June.  In  the  beginning  of  July  I  found  five  in  a  nest  that  were  ready  to  be 
hatched.  The  nests  were  placed  on  the  top  branches  of  the  low  firs  peculiar 
to  that  country,  about  ten  or  twelve  feet  from  the  ground,  and  were  composed 
of  sticks,  slightly  lined  with  moss  and  a  few  feathers.  At  this  season  the 
old  birds  evinced  great  concern  respecting  their  eggs  or  young,  remaining 
about  them,  and  shewing  all  the  tokens  of  anger  and  vexation  which  other 
courageous  species  exhibit  on  similar  occasions.  The  young  are  at  first 
covered  with  yellowish  down;  but  I  had  no  opportunity  of  watching  their 
progress,  as  all  that  were  taken  on  board  the  Ripley  died  in  a  few  days. 
This  species  also  breeds  in  Nova  Scotia  and  New  Brunswick. 

A  male  from  the  Texas.  Length  to  end  of  tail  13^  inches,  to  end  of 
wings  11T52,  to  end  of  claws  1 1^2 ;  extent  of  wings  26. 

The  mouth  resembles  that  of  the  other  Falcons;  its  breadth  yjths.  The 
tongue  is  short,  -f^ths  long,  fleshy,  deeply  emarginate  and  papillate  at  the 
base,  broadly  grooved  above,  the  tip  rounded  and  slightly  emarginate.  The 
oesophagus  is  4-|  inches  long,  its  width  at  the  upper  part  half  an  inch.  The 
stomach  is  very  large,  round,  1|-  inches  in  diameter,  with  a  very  thin  mus- 
cular coat;  its  central  tendons  y^ths  in  diameter.  The  proventriculus  is  y^ths 
long;  its  glands  very  numerous,  and  cylindrical.  The  intestine  is  26|-  inches 
long,  yjths  in  its  greatest  diameter.  There  are  merely  two  slight  indi- 
cations of  cceca;  and  the  cloaca  is  globular,  with  a  diameter  of  1  inch. 

The  trachea  is  2§  inches  long,  a  little  flattened;  the  rings  58,  well  ossified; 
its  breadth  at  the  upper  part  y^ths,  at  the  lower  y^ths.  The  contractor 
muscles  cover  the  anterior  surface  entirely  in  the  upper  third,  and  are  of 
moderate  strength,  as  are  the  sterno-tracheales;  a  pair  of  inferior  laryngeal 
muscles  going  to  the  membrane  between  the  last  tracheal  and  first  bronchial 
half  ring.     The  bronchial  half  rings  are  15  and  18. 

Pigeon  Hawk,  Falco  columbarius,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  ii.  p.  107. 

Falco  columbarius,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  38. 

Pigeon  Hawk,  Falco  columbarius,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  60. 

Little  Corporal  Hawk,  Falco  temerarius,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  61.     Adult  Male. 

Falco  columbarius,  Pigeon  Hawk,  Swains,  and  Rich.  F.  Bor.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  35. 

Falco  jEsalon,  Merlin,  Swains,  and  Rich.  F.  Bor.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  37. 

Pigeon  Hawk,  Falco  columbarius,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  466;  Young,  vol.  i.  p.  381, 

Male;  vol.  v.  p.  368. 
Vol.  I.  14 


90  THE  AMERICAN  SPARROW-HAWK. 

Wings  from  two  to  three  inches  shorter  than  the  tail,  on  the  middle 
feathers  of  which  are  five,  on  the  lateral  six,  broad  whitish  bands.  Adult 
male  with  the  cere  greenish-yellow,  the  feet  pale  orange,  the  upper  parts 
light  bluish-grey,  each  feather  with  a  black  central  line;  lower  parts  reddish 
or  yellowish-white,  the  breast  and  sides  with  large  oblong  brown  spots;  tibial 
feathers  light  red,  streaked  with  blackish-brown.  Female  with  the  cere  and 
legs  greenish-yellow,  the  upper  parts  dark  greyish-brown,  the  lower  pale 
red,  spotted  as  in  the  male.  Young  with  the  head  light  reddish-brown, 
streaked  with  dusky,  the  upper  parts  brownish-grey,  the  feathers  margined 
and  spotted  with  pale  red,  throat  white,  lower  parts  pale  red,  streaked  with 
brown.     The  tail-bands  vary  from  pale  red  to  white. 


THE   AMERICAN    SPARROW-HAWK. 

■+  Falco  sfarverius,  Linn. 

PLATE  XXII Male  and  Female. 

We  have  few  more  beautiful  Hawks  in  the  United  States  than  this  active 
little  species,  and  I  am  sure,  none  half  so  abundant.  It  is  found  in  every 
district  from  Louisiana  to  Maine,  as  well  as  from  the  Atlantic  shores  to  the 
western  regions.  Every  one  knows  the  Sparrow-Hawk,  the  very  mention 
of  its  name  never  fails  to  bring  to  mind  some  anecdote  connected  with  its 
habits,  and,  as  it  commits  no  depredations  on  poultry,  few  disturb  it,  so  that 
the  natural  increase  of  the  species  experiences  no  check  from  man.  During 
the  winter  months  especially  it  may  be  seen  in  the  Southern  States  about 
every  old  field,  orchard,  barn-yard,  or  kitchen-garden,  but  seldom  indeed  in 
the  interior  of  the  forest. 

Beautifully  erect,  it  stands  on  the  highest  fence-stake,  the  broken  top  of  a 
tree,  the  summit  of  a  grain  stack,  or  the  corner  of  the  barn,  patiently  and 
silently  waiting  until  it  spy  a  mole,  a  field-mouse,  a  cricket,  or  a  grasshopper, 
on  which  to  pounce.  If  disappointed  in  its  expectation,  it  leaves  its  stand 
and  removes  to  another,  flying  low  and  swiftly  until  within  a  few  yards  of 
the  spot  on  which  it  wishes  to  alight,  when  all  of  a  sudden,  and  in  the  most 
graceful  manner,  it  rises  towards  it  and  settles  with  incomparable  firmness  of 
manner,  merely  suffering  its  beautiful  tail  to  vibrate  gently  for  awhile,  its 
wings  being  closed  with  the  swiftness  of  thought.  Its  keen  eye  perceives 
something  beneath,  when  down  it  darts,  secures  the  object  in  its  talons, 
returns  to  its  stand,  and  devours  its  prey  piece  by  piece.     This  done,  the 


92  THE  AMERICAN  SPARROW-HAWK. 

retreats  to  her  winter  quarters,  dismal  clouds  obscure  the  eastern  horizon, 
the  sun  assumes  a  sickly  dimness,  hoarfrosts  cover  the  ground,  and  the  long 
night  encroaches  on  the  domains  of  light.  No  longer  are  heard  the  feathered 
choristers  of  the  woods,  who  throng  towards  more  congenial  climes,  and  in 
their  rear  rushes  the  Sparrow-Hawk. 

Its  flight  is  rather  irregular,  nor  can  it  be  called  protracted.  It  flies  over 
a  field,  but  seldom  farther  at  a  time;  even  in  barren  lands,  a  few  hundred 
yards  are  all  the  extent  it  chooses  to  go  before  it  alights.  During  the  love 
season  alone  it  may  be  seen  sailing  for  half  an  hour,  which  is,  I  believe,  the 
longest  time  I  ever  saw  one  on  the  wing.  When  chasing  a  bird,  it  passes 
along  with  considerable  celerity,  but  never  attains  the  speed  of  the  Sharp- 
shinned  Hawk  or  of  other  species.  When  teazing  an  Eagle  or  a  Turkey- 
Buzzard,  its  strength  seems  to  fail  in  a  few  minutes,  and  if  itself  chased  by  a 
stronger  Hawk,  it  soon  retires  into  some  thicket  for  protection.  Its  migra- 
tions are  pursued  by  day,  and  with  much  apparent  nonchalance. 

The  cry  of  this  bird  so  much  resembles  that  of  the  European  Kestrel,  to 
which  it  seems  allied,  that,  were  it  rather  stronger  in  intonation,  it  might  be 
mistaken  for  it.  At  times  it  emits  its  notes  while  perched,  but  principally 
when  on  the  wing,  and  more  continually  before  and  after  the  birth  of  its 
young,  the  weaker  cries  of  which  it  imitates  when  they  have  left  the  nest 
and  follow  their  parents. 

The  Sparrow-Hawk  does  not  much  regard  the  height  of  the  place  in 
which  it  deposits  its  eggs,  provided  it  be  otherwise  suitable,  but  I  never  saw 
it  construct  a  nest  for  itself.  It  prefers  the  hole  of  a  Woodpecker,  but  now 
and  then  is  satisfied  with  an  abandoned  crow's  nest.  So  prolific  is  it,  that 
I  do  not  recollect  having  ever  found  fewer  than  five  eggs  or  young  in  the 
nest,  and,  as  I  have  already  said,  the  number  sometimes  amounts  to  seven. 
The  eggs  are  nearly  globular,  of  a  deep  buff-colour,  blotched  all  over  with 
dark  brown  and  black.  This  Hawk  sometimes  raises  two  broods  in  the 
season,  in  the  Southern  States,  where  in  fact  it  may  be  said  to  be  a  constant 
resident;  but  in  the  Middle  and  Eastern  States,  seldom  if  ever  more  than 
one.  Nay,  I  have  thought  that  in  the  South  the  eggs  of  a  laying  are  more 
numerous  than  in  the  North,  although  of  this  I  am  not  quite  certain. 

So  much  attached  are  they  to  their  stand,  that  they  will  return  to  it  and 
sit  there  by  preference  for  months  in  succession.  My  friend  Bachman 
informed  me  that,  through  this  circumstance,  he  has  caught  as  many  as  seven 
in  the  same  field,  each  from  its  favourite  stump. 

Although  the  greater  number  of  these  Hawks  remove  southward  at  the 
approach  of  winter,  some  remain  even  in  the  State  of  New  York  during  the 
severest  weather  of  that  season.  These  keep  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood 
of  barns,  where  now  and  then  they  secure  a  rat  or  a  mouse  for  their  support. 


THE  AMERICAN  SPARROW-HAWK.  93 

Sometimes  this  species  is  severely  handled  by  the  larger  Hawks.  One  of 
them  who  had  caught  a  Sparrow,  and  was  flying  off  with  it,  was  suddenly 
observed  by  a  Red-tailed  Hawk,  which  in  a  few  minutes  made  it  drop  its 
prey:  this  contented  the  pursuer  and  enabled  the  pursued  to  escape. 

Theodore  Lincoln,  Esq.  of  Dennisville,  Maine,  informed  me  that  the 
Sparrow-Hawk  is  in  the  habit  of  attacking  the  Republican  Swallow,  while 
sitting  on  its  eggs,  deliberately  tearing  the  bottle-neck-like  entrance  of  its 
curious  nest,  and  seizing  the  occupant  for  its  prey.  This  is  as  fit  a  place  as 
any  to  inform  you,  that  the  father  of  that  gentleman,  who  has  resided  at 
Dennisville  upwards  of  forty  years,  found  the  Swallow  just  mentioned  abun- 
dant there  on  his  arrival  in  that  then  wild  portion  of  the  country. 

In  the  Floridas  the  Sparrow-Hawk  pairs  as  early  as  February,  in  the 
Middle  States  about  April,  and  in  the  northern  parts  of  Maine  seldom  before 
June.  Few  are  seen  in  Nova  Scotia,  and  none  in  Newfoundland,  or  on  the 
western  coast  of  Labrador.  Although  abundant  in  the  interior  of  FJast 
Florida,  I  did  not  observe  one  on  any  of  the  keys  which  border  the  coast  of 
that  singular  peninsula.  During  one  of  my  journeys  down  the  Mississippi, 
I  frequently  observed  some  of  these  birds  standing  on  low  dead  branches 
over  the  water,  from  which  they  would  pick  up  the  beetles  that  had  acci- 
dentally fallen  into  the  stream. 

No  bird  can  be  more  easily  raised  and  kept  than  this  beautiful  Hawk.  I 
once  found  a  young  male  that  had  dropped  from  the  nest  before  it  was  able 
to  fly.  Its  cries  for  food  attracted  my  notice,  and  I  discovered  it  lying  near 
a  log.  It  was  large,  and  covered  with  soft  white  down,  through  which  the 
young  feathers  protruded.  Its  little  blue  bill  and  yet  grey  eyes  made  it  look 
not  unlike  an  owl.  I  took  it  home,  named  it  Nero,  and  provided  it  with 
small  birds,  at  which  it  would  scramble  fiercely,  although  yet  unable  to  tear 
their  flesh,  in  which  I  assisted  it.  In  a  few  weeks  it  grew  very  beautiful, 
and  became  so  voracious,  requiring  a  great  number  of  birds  daily,  that  I 
turned  it  out,  to  see  how  it  would  shift  for  itself.  This  proved  a  gratification 
to  both  of  us:  it  soon  hunted  for  grasshoppers  and  other  insects,  and  on 
returning  from  my  walks  I  now  and  then  threw  a  dead  bird  high  in  the  air, 
which  it  never  failed  to  perceive  from  its  stand,  and  towards  which  it  launch- 
ed with  such  quickness  as  sometimes  to  catch  it  before  it  fell  to  the  ground. 
The  little  fellow  attracted  the  notice  of  his  brothers,  brought  up  hard  by, 
who,  accompanied  by  their  parents,  at  first  gave  it  chase,  and  forced  it  to 
take  refuge  behind  one  of  the  window-shutters,  where  it  usually  passed  the 
night,  but  soon  became  gentler  towards  it,  as  if  forgiving  its  desertion.  My 
bird  was  fastidious  in  the  choice  of  food,  would  not  touch  a  Woodpecker, 
however  fresh,  and  as  he  grew  older,  refused  to  eat  birds  that  were  in  the 
least  tainted.    To  the  last  he  continued  kind  to  me,  and  never  failed  to  return 


THE  GOSHAWK.  95 

equal,  third  much  longer,  and  connected  at  the  base  by  a  web  with  the  fourth, 
which  is  shortest;  claws  long,  well  curved,  acuminate.  Wings  very  broad, 
of  moderate  length,  much  rounded,  fourth  and  fifth  quills  longest,  first  much 
shorter,  outer  four  abruptly  cut  out  on  the  inner  web.  Tail  long,  much 
exceeding  the  wings,  rounded. 

Those  of  more  slender  form,  with  proportionally  longer  tails  and  tarsi,  are 
separated  by  many  authors  to  form  a  group,  to  which  the  names  of  Jlccipiter 
and  Nisus  are  given. 


THE    GOSHAWK. 

•f-AsTUR    PAXUMBAKIITS,  LblU. 

PLATE  XXIII— Adult  Male  and  Young. 

The  Goshawk  is  of  rare  occurrence  in  most  parts  of  the  United  States,  and 
the  districts  of  North  America  to  which  it  usually  retires  to  breed  are  as  yet 
unknown.  Some  individuals  nestle  within  the  Union,  others  in  the  British 
provinces  of  New  Brunswick  and  Nova  Scotia,  but  the  greater  part  seem  to 
proceed  farther  north.  I  saw  none,  however,  in  Labrador,  but  was  informed 
that  they  are  plentiful  in  the  wooded  parts  of  Newfoundland.  On  returning 
from  the  north,  they  make  their  appearance  in  the  Middle  States  about  the 
beginning  of  September,  and  after  that  season  range  to  very  great  distances. 
I  have  found  them  rather  abundant  in  the  lower  parts  of  Kentucky  and 
Indiana,  and  in  severe  winters  I  have  seen  a  few  even  in  Louisiana.  In  the 
Great  Pine  Forest  of  Pennsylvania,  and  at  the  Falls  of  Niagara,  I  have 
observed  them  breeding.  During  autumn  and  winter,  they  are  common  in 
Maine,  as  well  as  in  Nova  Scotia,  where  I  have  seen  six  or  seven  specimens 
that  were  procured  by  a  single  person  in  the  course  of  a  season.  At  Pictou, 
Professor  MacCulloch  shewed  me  about  a  dozen  well  mounted  specimens 
of  both  sexes,  and  of  different  ages,  which  he  had  procured  in  the  neighbour- 
hood. In  that  country,  they  prey  on  hares,  the  Canada  Grous,  the  Ruffed 
Grous,  and  Wild  Ducks.  In  Maine,  they  are  so  daring  as  to  come  to  the 
very  door  of  the  farmer's  house,  and  carry  off  chickens  and  ducks  with  such 
rapidity  as  generally  to  elude  all  attempts  to  shoot  them.  When  residing  in 
Kentucky  I  shot  a  great  number  of  these  birds,  particularly  one  cold  winter, 
near  Henderson,  when  I  killed  a  dozen  or  more  on  the  ice  in  Canoe  Creek, 
where  I  generally  surprised  them  by  approaching  the  deep  banks  of  that 


96  THE  GOSHAWK. 

stream  with  caution,  and  not  unfrequently  almost  above  them,  when  then- 
escape  was  rendered  rather  difficult.  They  there  caught  Mallards  with  ease, 
and  after  killing  them  turned  them  belly  upwards,  and  ate  only  the  flesh  of 
the  breast,  pulling  the  feathers  with  great  neatness,  and  throwing  them  round 
the  bird,  as  if  it  had  been  plucked  by  the  hand  of  man. 

The  flight  of  the  Goshawk  is  extremely  rapid  and  protracted.  He  sweeps 
along  the  margins  of  the  fields,  through  the  woods,  and  by  the  edges  of  ponds 
and  rivers,  with  such  speed  as  to  enable  him  to  seize  his  prey  by  merely 
deviating  a  few  yards  from  his  course,  assisting  himself  on  such  occasions  by 
his  long  tail,  which,  like  a  rudder,  he  throws  to  the  right  or  left,  upwards  or 
downwards,  to  check  his  progress,  or  enable  him  suddenly  to  alter  his  course. 
At  times  he  passes  like  a  meteor  through  the  underwood,  where  he  secures 
squirrels  and  hares  with  ease.  Should  a  flock  of  Wild  Pigeons  pass  him 
when  on  these  predatory  excursions,  he  immediately  gives  chase,  soon  over- 
takes them,  and  forcing  his  way  into  the  very  centre  of  the  flock,  scatters 
them  in  confusion,  when  you  may  see  him  emerging  with  a  bird  in  his  talons, 
and  diving  towards  the  depth  of  the  forest  to  feed  upon  his  victim.  When 
travelling,  he  flies  high,  with  a  constant  beat  of  the  wings,  seldom  moving  in 
large  circles  like  other  Hawks,  and  when  he  does  this,  it  is  only  a  few  times, 
in  a  hurried  manner,  after  which  he  continues  his  journey. 

Along  the  Atlantic  coast,  this  species  follows  the  numerous  flocks  of  ducks 
that  are  found  there  during  autumn  and  winter,  and  greatly  aids  in  the 
destruction  of  Mallards,  Teals,  Black  Ducks,  and  other  species,  in  company 
with  the  Peregrine  Falcon.  It  is  a  restless  bird,  apparently  more  vigilant 
and  industrious  than  many  other  Hawks,  and  seldom  alights  unless  to  devour 
its  prey;  nor  can  I  recollect  ever  having  seen  one  alighted  for  many  minutes 
at  a  time  without  having  a  bird  in  its  talons.  When  thus  engaged  with  its 
prey,  it  stands  nearly  upright,  and  in  general,  when  perched,  it  keeps  itself 
more  erect  than  most  species  of  Hawk.  It  is  extremely  expert  at  catching 
Snipes  on  the  wing,  and  so  well  do  these  birds  know  their  insecurity,  that, 
on  his  approach,  they  prefer  squatting. 

When  the  Passenger  Pigeons  are  abundant  in  the  western  country,  the 
Goshawk  follows  their  close  masses,  and  subsists  upon  them.  A  single 
Hawk  suffices  to  spread  the  greatest  terror  among  their  ranks,  and  the 
moment  he  sweeps  towards  a  flock,  the  whole  immediately  dive  into  the 
deepest  woods,  where,  notwithstanding  their  great  speed,  the  marauder  suc- 
ceeds in  clutching  the  fattest.  While  travelling  along  the  Ohio,  I  observed 
several  Hawks  of  this  species  in  the  train  of  millions  of  these  Pigeons. 
Towards  the  evening  of  the  same  day,  I  saw  one  abandoning  its  course,  to 
give  chase  to  a  large  flock  of  Crow  Blackbirds  {Quiscalus  versicolor),  then 
crossing  the  river.     The  Hawk  approached  them  with  the  swiftness  of  an 


THE  GOSHAWK.  97 

arrow,  when  the  Blackbirds  rushed  together  so  closely  that  the  flock  looked 
like  a  dusky  ball  passing  through  the  air.  On  reaching  the  mass,  he,  with 
the  greatest  ease,  seized  first  one,  then  another,  and  another,  giving  each  a 
squeeze  with  his  talons,  and  suffering  it  to  drop  upon  the  water.  In  this 
manner,  he  had  procured  four  or  five  before  the  poor  birds  reached  the 
woods,  into  which  they  instantly  plunged,  when  he  gave  up  the  chase,  swept 
over  the  water  in  graceful  curves,  and  picked  up  the  fruits  of  his  industry, 
carrying  each  bird  singly  to  the  shore.     Reader,  is  this  instinct  or  reason? 

The  nest  of  the  Goshawk  is  placed  on  the  branches  of  a  tree,  near  the 
trunk  or  main  stem.  It  is  of  great  size,  and  resembles  that  of  our  Crow,  or 
some  species  of  Owl,  being  constructed  of  withered  twigs  and  coarse  grass, 
with  a  lining  of  fibrous  stripes  of  plants  resembling  hemp.  It  is,  however, 
much  flatter  than  that  of  the  Crow.  In  one  I  found,  in  the  month  of  April, 
three  eggs,  ready  to  be  hatched;  they  were  of  a  dull  bluish-white,  sparingly 
spotted  with  light  reddish-brown.  In  another,  which  I  found  placed  on  a 
pine  tree,  growing  on  the  eastern  rocky  bank  of  the  Niagara  River,  a  few 
miles  below  the  Great  Cataract,  the  lining  was  formed  of  withered  herbaceous 
plants,  with  a  few  feathers,  and  the  eggs  were  four  in  number,  of  a  white 
colour,  tinged  with  greenish-blue,  large,  much  rounded,  and  somewhat  granu- 
lated. In  another  nest  were  four  young  birds,  covered  with  buff  coloured 
down,  their  legs  and  feet  of  a  pale  yellowish  flesh  colour,  the  bill  light  blue, 
and  the  eyes  pale  grey.  They  differed  greatly  in  size,  one  being  quite 
small  compared  with  the  rest.  I  am  of  opinion  that  few  breed  to  the  south 
of  the  State  of  Maine. 

The  variations  of  the  plumage  exhibited  by  the  Goshawk  are  numerous. 
I  have  seen  some  with  horizontal  bars,  of  a  large  size,  on  the  breast,  and 
blotches  of  white  on  the  back  and  shoulders,  while  others  had  the  first  of 
these  parts  covered  with  delicate  transverse  lines,  the  shaft  of  each  feather 
being  brown  or  black,  and  were  of  a  plain  cinereous  tint  above.  The  young, 
which  at  first  have  but  few  scattered  dashes  of  brown  beneath,  are  at  times 
thickly  mottled  with  that,  and  each  feather  of  the  back  and  wings  is  broadly 
edged  with  dull  white. 

My  opinion  respecting  the  identity  of  the  American  Goshawk  and  that  of 
Europe,  is  still  precisely  the  same  as  it  was  some  years  ago,  when  I  wrote 
a  paper  on  the  subject,  which  was  published  in  the  Edinburgh  Journal  of 
Natural  and  Geographical  Science.  I  regret  differing  on  this  point  from 
such  Ornithologists  as  Charles  Bonaparte  and  M.  Temminck;  but,  after 
due  consideration,  I  cannot  help  thinking  these  birds  the  same. 

The  figure  of  the  adult  was  drawn  at  Henderson,  in  Kentucky,  many 
years  ago.  That  of  the  young  bird  was  taken  from  a  specimen  shot  in  the 
Great  Pine  Forest  in  Pennsylvania. 

Vol.  I.  15 


98  COOPER'S  HAWK. 

Ash-coloured  or  Black-capped  Hawk,  Falco  atricapillus,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  vi.  p.  80. 

Falco  palumbarius,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  28. 

American  Goshawk,  Falco  atricapillus,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  85. 

Accipiter  (Astur)  palumbarius,  Swains,  and  Rich.  F.  Bor.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  39. 

Goshawk,  Falco  palumbarius,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  ii.  p.  241. 

Adult  male,  dark  bluish-grey  above,  the  tail  with  four  broad  bands  of 
blackish-brown,  the  upper  part  of  the  head  greyish-black;  a  white  band, 
with  black  lines,  over  the  eyes;  lower  parts  white,  narrowly  barred  with 
grey,  and  longitudinally  streaked  with  dark  brown.  Young,  brown  above, 
the  feathers  edged  with  reddish-white,  the  head  and  hind  neck  pale  red, 
streaked  with  blackish-brown,  the  lower  parts  yellowish-white,  with  oblong 
longitudinal  dark  brown  spots. 

Length  24  inches;  extent  of  wings  47.  **• 


COOPER'S    HAWK. 

t- Astur  Cooperi,  Bonap. 

PLATE  XXIV.— Male  and  Female. 

The  flight  of  the  Cooper's  Hawk  is  rapid,  protracted,  and  even.  It  is  per- 
formed at  a  short  height  above  the  ground  or  through  the  forest.  It  passes 
along  in  a  silent  gliding  manner,  with  a  swiftness  even  superior  to  that  of 
the  Wild  Pigeon  {Columba  migratoria),  seldom  deviating  from  a  straight- 
forward course,  unless  to  seize  and  secure  its  prey.  Now  and  then,  but 
seldom  unless  after  being  shot  at,  it  mounts  in  the  air  in  circles,  of  which  it 
describes  five  or  six  in  a  hurried  manner,  and  again  plunging  downwards, 
continues  its  journey  as  before. 

The  daring  exploits  performed  by  this  Hawk,  which  have  taken  place  in 
my  presence,  are  very  numerous,  and  I  shall  relate  one  or  two  of  them. 
This  marauder  frequently  attacks  birds  far  superior  to  itself  in  weight,  and 
sometimes  possessed  of  courage  equal  to  its  own.  As  I  was  one  morning 
observing  the  motions  of  some  Parakeets  near  Bayou  Sara,  in  the  State  of 
Louisiana,  in  the  month  of  November,  I  heard  a  Cock  crowing  not  far  from 
me,  and  in  sight  of  a  farm-house.  The  Cooper's  Hawk  the  next  moment 
flew  past  me,  and  so  close  that  I  might  have  touched  it  with  the  barrel  of 
my  gun,  had  I  been  prepared.  Its  wings  struck  with  extraordinary  rapidity, 
and  its  tail  appeared  as  if  closed.  Not  more  than  a  few  seconds  elapsed 
before  I  heard  the  cackling  of  the  Hens,  and  the  war-cry  of  the  Cock,  and  at 


N°  5 


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Liih?  1-Yinled  !  Colfbv  3 .'j'.Bowen.Vhilart? 


^ 


SHARP-SHINNED  OR  SLATE-COLOURED  HAWK.  101 

ward.  I  have  a  specimen  procured  by  Mr.  Townsend  in  the  neighbourhood 
of  the  Columbia  River;  and,  when  on  my  way  towrards  Labrador,  I  met  with 
it  plentifully  as  far  as  the  southern  shores  of  the  Gulf  of  St.  Lawrence, 
beyond  which,  however,  none  were  observed  by  me  or  any  of  my  party. 

I  never  saw  this  daring  little  marauder  on  wing  without  saying  or  think- 
ing  "There   goes  the  miniature  of  the  Goshawk!"     Indeed,  reader,   the 
shortness  of  the  wings  of  the  Sharp-shinned  Hawk,  its  long  tail,  although 
almost  perfectly  even,  instead  of  being  rounded  as  in  the  Goshawk,  added  to 
its  irregular,  swift,  vigorous,  varied,  and  yet  often  undecided  manner  of 
flight,  greatly  protracted  however  on  occasion,   have  generally  impressed 
upon  me  the  idea  alluded  to.     While  in  search  of  prey,  the  Sharp-shinned 
Hawk  passes  over  the  country,  now  at  a  moderate  height,  now  close  over 
the  land,  in  so  swift  a  manner  that,  although  your  eye  has  marked  it,  you 
feel  surprised  that  the  very  next  moment  it  has  dashed  off  and  is  far  away. 
In  fact  it  is  usually  seen  when  least  expected,  and  almost  always  but  for  a 
few  moments,  unless  when  it  has  procured  some  prey,  and  is  engaged  in 
feeding  upon  it.     The  kind  of  vacillation  or  wavering  with  which  it  moves 
through  the  air  appears  perfectly  adapted  to  its  wants,  for  -iit  undoubtedly 
enables  this  little  warrior  to  watch  and  to  see  at  a  single  quick  glance  of  its 
keen  eyes  every  object,  whether  to  the  right  or  to  the  left,  as  it  pursues  its 
course.     It  advances  by  sudden  dashes,  as  if  impetuosity  of  movement  was 
essential  to  its  nature,  and  pounces  upon  or  strikes  such  objects  as  best  suit 
its  appetite;   but  so  very  suddenly  that  it  appears  quite  hopeless  for  any  of 
them  to  try  to  escape.     Many  have  been  the  times,  reader,  when  watching 
this  vigilant,  active,  and  industrious  bird,  I  have  seen   it  plunge  headlong 
among  the  briar}'  patches  of  one  of  our  old  fields,  in  defiance  of  all  thorny 
obstacles,  and,  passing  through,  emerge  on  the  other  side,  bearing  off  with 
exultation  in  its  sharp  claws  a  Sparrow  or  Finch,  which  it  had  surprised 
when  at  rest.     At  other  times  I  have  seen  two  or  three  of  these  Hawks, 
acting  in  concert,  fly  at  a  Golden-winged  Woodpecker  while  alighted  against 
the  bark  of  a  tree,  where  it  thought  itself  secure,  but  was  suddenly  clutched 
by  one  of  the  Hawks  throwing  as  it  were  its  long  legs  forward  with  the 
quickness  of  thought,  protruding  its  sharp  talons,  and  thrusting  them  into  the 
back  of  the  devoted  bird,  while  it  was  endeavouring  to  elude  the  harassing 
attacks  of  another,  by  hopping  and  twisting  round  the  tree.      Then  down  to 
the  ground  assailants  and  assailed  would  fall,  the  Woodpecker  still  offering- 
great  resistance,  until  a  second  Hawk  would  also   seize  upon  it,  and  with 
claws  deeply  thrust  into  its  vitals,  put  an  end  to  its  life;   when  both  the 
marauders  would  at  once  commence  their  repast. 

On  several  such  occasions,  I  have  felt  much  pleasure  in  rescuing  different 
species  of  birds  from  the  grasp  of  the  little  tyrant,  as  whenever  it  seizes  one 


|02  SHARP-SHINNED  OR  SLATE-COLOURED  HAWK. 

too  heavy  to  be  carried  off,  it  drops  to  the  ground  with  it,  and,  being  close 
by,  I  have  forced  it  to  desist  from  committing  further  mischief,  as  it  fears 
man  quite  as  much  as  its  poor  quarry  dreads  itself.  One  of  these  occurrences, 
which  happened  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Charleston,  in  South  Carolina,  is 
thus  related  in  my  journal. 

Whilst  walking  one  delightful  evening  in  autumn,  along  the  fine  hedge- 
row formed  by  the  luxuriant  Rocky  Mountain  rose-bushes,  I  observed  a 
male  of  this  species  alighted  in  an  upright  position  on  the  top  bar  of  a  fence 
opposite  to  me.  I  marked  it  with  particular  attention,  to  see  what  might 
follow.  The  Hawk  saw  me  as  plainly  as  I  did  him,  and  kept  peeping  now 
at  me  and  now  at  some  part  of  the  hedge  opposite,  when  suddenly,  and  with 
the  swiftness  of  an  arrow,  it  shot  past  me,  entered  the  briars,  and  the  next 
instant  was  moving  off  with  a  Brown  Thrush,  Tardus  rufus,  in  its  talons. 
The  Thrush,  though  seized  by  the  sharp  claws  of  the  marauder,  seemed  too 
heavy  for  him  to  carry  far,  and  I  saw  both  falling  to  the  ground.  On  running 
up,  I  observed  the  anxiety  of  the  Hawk  as  I  approached,  and  twice  saw  it 
attempt  to  rise  on  wing  to  carry  off  its  prize;  but  it  was  unable  to  do  so,  and 
before  it  could  disengage  itself  I  was  able  to  secure  both.  The  Thrush  must 
have  been  killed  almost  instantaneously,  for,  on  examining  it,  I  found  it 
quite  dead. 

My  friend  Thomas  Nuttall,  Esq.,  tells  us  that  in  the  "thinly  settled 
parts  of  the  States  of  Georgia  and  Alabama,  this  Hawk  seems  to  abound,  and 
proves  extremely  destructive  to  young  chickens,  a  single  one  having  been 
known  regularly  to  come  every  day  until  he  had  carried  away  between 
twenty  and  thirty.  At  noon-day,  while  I  was  conversing  with  a  planter, 
one  of  these  Hawks  came  down,  and  without  ceremony,  or  heeding  the  loud 
cries  of  the  housewife,  who  most  reluctantly  witnessed  the  robbery,  snatched 
away  a  chicken  before  us."  Again,  while  speaking  of  the  wild  and  violent 
manner  of  this  bird,  he  adds,  "descending  furiously  and  blindly  upon  its 
quarry,  a  young  Hawk  of  this  species,  broke  through  the  glass  of  the  green- 
house at  the  Cambridge  Botanic  Garden;  and  fearlessly  passing  through  a 
second  glass  partition,  he  was  only  brought  up  by  the  third,  and  caught, 
though  little  stunned  by  the  effort.  His  wing-feathers  were  much  torn  by 
the  glass,  and  his  flight  in  this  way  so  impeded  as  to  allow  of  his  being 
approached." 

Whilst  travelling  to  some  distance,  the  Sharp-shinned  Hawk  flies  high, 
though  in  a  desultory  manner,  with  irregular  quick  flappings  of  the  wings, 
and  at  times,  as  if  to  pause  for  awhile  and  examine  the  objects  below,  moves 
in  short  and  unequal  circles,  after  which  it  is  seen  to  descend  rapidly,  and 
then  follow  its  course  at  the  height  of  only  a  few  feet  from  the  ground, 
visiting  as  it  were  every  clump  of  low  bushes  or  briar  patches  likely  to  be 


N°6. 


J426. 


H&ernvmtm     0uforr60ry 


■n  tan         i    i  !  ltadubon.r.H 


Liih-1  lVmied  S  Coif  t»  J  T  h.~<-n  Hahd? 


MARSH  HAWK.  107 

In  winter,  the  notes  which  the  Marsh  Hawk  emits  while  on  wing,  are 
sharp,  and  sound  like  the  syllables  pee,  pee,  pee,  the  first  slightly  pronounced, 
the  last  louder,  much  prolonged,  and  ending  plaintively.  During  the  love- 
season,  its  cry  more  resembles  that  of  our  Pigeon  Hawk,  especially  when 
the  males  meet,  they  being  apparently  tenacious  of  their  assumed  right  to  a 
certain  locality,  as  well  as  to  the  female  of  their  choice. 

The  Marsh  Hawk  breeds  in  many  parts  of  the  United  States,  as  well  as 
beyond  our  limits  to  the  north  and  south  in  which  it  finds  a  place  suited  to 
its  habits;  as  is  the  case  with  the  Blue-winged  Teal,  and  several  other 
species,  which  have  until  now  been  supposed  to  retreat  to  high  latitudes  for 
the  purpose.  That  many  make  choice  of  the  more  northern  regions,  and 
return  southward  in  autumn,  is  quite  certain;  but  in  all  probability  an  equal 
number  remain  within  the  confines  of  the  United  States  to  breed. 

It  is  by  no  means  restricted  to  the  low  lands  of  the  sea-shores  during  the 
breeding  season,  for  I  have  found  its  nest  in  the  Barrens  of  Kentucky,  and 
even  on  the  cleared  table-lands  of  the  Alleghany  Mountains  and  their  spurs. 
In  one  instance,  I  found  it  in  the  high-covered  pine-barrens  of  the  Floridas, 
although  I  have  never  seen  one  on  a  tree;  and  the  few  cases  of  its  nest  having 
been  placed  on  low  trees  or  bushes,  may  have  been  caused  by  the  presence 
of  dangerous  quadrupeds,  or  their  having  been  more  than  once  disturbed  or 
robbed  of  their  eggs  or  young,  when  their  former  nests  had  been  placed  on 
the  ground. 

Many  birds  of  this  species  breed  before  they  have  obtained  their  full 
plumage.  I  have  several  times  found  a  male  bird  in  brown  plumage  paired 
with  a  female  which  had  eggs;  but  such  a  circumstance  is  not  singular,  for 
the  like  occurs  in  many  species  of  different  families.  I  have  never  met  with 
a  nest  in  situations  like  those  described  by  some  European  writers  as  those 
in  which  the  Hen-Harrier  breeds;  but  usually  on  level  parts  of  the  country, 
or  flat  pieces  of  land  that  are  sometimes  met  with  in  hilly  districts.  As  I 
am  well  aware,  however,  that  birds  adapt  the  place  and  even  the  form  and 
materials  of  their  nests  to  circumstances,  I  cannot  admit  that  such  a  difference 
is  by  any  means  sufficient  to  prove  that  birds  similar  in  all  other  respects, 
are  really  different  from  each  other.  If  it  be  correct,  as  has  been  stated,  that 
the  male  of  the  European  bird  deserts  the  female  as  soon  as  incubation 
commences,  this  indeed  would  form  a  decided  difference;  but  as  such  a  habit 
has  not  been  observed  in  any  other  Hawk,  it  requires  to  be  confirmed.  Our 
Marsh  Hawks,  after  being  paired,  invariably  keep  together,  and  labour  con- 
jointly for  the  support  of  their  family,  until  the  young  are  left  to  shift  for 
themselves.  This  is  equally  the  case  with  every  Hawk  with  which  I  am 
acquainted. 

Having  considerable  doubts  as  to  whether  any  American  writer  who  has 


108  MARSH  HAWK. 

spoken  of  the  Marsh  Hawk  ever  saw  one  of  its  nests,  I  will  here  describe 
one  found  on  Galveston  Island  by  my  son  John  Woodhouse,  and  carefully 
examined  by  him  as  well  as  by  my  friend  Edward  Harris  and  myself. 
As  is  usually  the  case  when  in  a  low  and  flat  district,  this  was  placed  about 
a  hundred  yards  from  a  pond,  on  the  ground,  upon  a  broom-sedge  ridge, 
about  two  feet  above  the  level  of  the  surrounding  salt  marsh.  It  was  made 
of  dry  grass,  and  measured  between  seven  and  eight  inches  in  its  internal 
diameter,  with  a  depth  of  two  inches  and  a  half,  while  its  external  diameter 
was  twelve  inches.  The  grass  was  pretty  regularly  and  compactly  disposed, 
especially  in  the  interior,  on  which  much  care  seemed  to  have  been  bestowed. 
No  feathers  or  other  materials  had  been  used  in  its  construction,  not  even  a 
twig.  The  eggs  were  four,  smooth,  considerably  rounded,  or  broadly  ellip- 
tical, bluish-white,  an  inch  and  three-quarters  in  length,  an  inch  and  a  quarter 
in  breadth.  The  two  birds  were  procured,  and  their  measurements  carefully 
entered  in  my  journal,  as  well  as  those  of  others  obtained  in  various  parts  of 
the  United  States  and  of  the  British  Provinces.  A  nest  found  on  the  Alle- 
ghanies  was  placed  under  a  low  bush,  in  an  open  spot  of  scarcely  half  an 
acre.  It  was  constructed  in  the  same  manner  as  the  one  described  above, 
but  was  more  bulky,  the  bed  being  about  four  inches  from  the  earth.  The 
eggs,  although  of  the  same  form  and  colour,  were  slightly  sprinkled  with 
small  marks  of  pale  reddish-brown.  In  general,  the  Marsh  Hawks  scoop 
the  ground,  for  the  purpose  of  fixing  their  nest  to  the  spot.  On  returning  to 
London,  in  the  summer  of  1837,  I  shewed  several  of  the  eggs  of  the  Ameri- 
can bird  to  William  Yarrell,  Esq.,  who  at  once  pronounced  them  to 
belong  to  the  Hen-Harrier;  and  on  comparing  their  measurements  with  those 
of  the  eggs  described  by  my  friend  William  Macgillivray,  I  find  that 
they  agree  perfectly. 

The  young  are  at  first  covered  with  soft  yellowish-white  down,  but  in  a 
few  weeks  shew  the  brownish  and  ferruginous  tints  of  their  female  parent; 
the  young  males  being  distinguishable  from  the  females  by  their  smaller  size. 

I  have  found  a  greater  number  of  barren  females  in  this  species  than  in 
any  other;  and  to  this  I  in  part  attribute  their  predominance  over  the  males. 
The  food  of  the  Marsh  Hawk  consists  of  insects  of  various  kinds,  especially 
crickets,  of  small  lizards,  frogs,  snakes,  birds,  principally  the  smaller  sorts, 
although  it  will  attack  Partridges,  Plovers,  and  even  Green-winged  Teals, 
when  urged  by  excessive  hunger.  The  only  instance  in  which  I  have  seen 
this  bird  carry  any  prey  in  its  talons  on  wing,  happened  on  the  2nd  of  April, 
1S37,  at  the  South-West  Pass  of  the  Mississippi,  when  I  was  in  company 
with  Edward  Harris,  Esq.  and  my  son  John  Woodhouse.  A  Marsh 
Hawk  was  seen  to  seize  a  bird  on  its  nest,  perhaps  a  Marsh  Wren,  Troglo- 
dytes palvstris.  and  carry  it  off  in  its  talons  with   the  nest!      A  pair  were 


MARSH  HAWK.  109 

hovering  over  the  marsh  during  the  whole  of  our  stay,  and  probably  had  a 
nest  thereabout.  It  is  rather  a  cowardly  bird  however,  for  on  several  occa- 
sions when  I  was  in  the  Floridas,  where  it  is  abundant,  I  saw  it  chase  a 
Salt-water  Marsh  Hen,  Rallus  crepitans,  which  courageously  sprung  up, 
and  striking  at  its  enemy,  forced  it  off.  My  friend  John  Bachman  has 
frequently  observed  similar  occurrences  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Charleston. 
Whenever  it  seizes  a  bird  on  wing,  it  almost  at  once  drops  to  the  ground 
with  it,  and  if  in  an  exposed  place,  hops  off  with  its  prey  to  the  nearest 
concealment. 

In  autumn,  after  the  young  have  left  their  parents,  they  hunt  in  packs. 
This  I  observed  on  several  occasions  when  on  my  way  back  from  Labrador. 
In  Nova  Scotia,  on  the  27th  of  August,  we  procured  nearly  a  whole  pack, 
by  concealing  ourselves,  but  did  not  see  an  adult  male.  These  birds  are  fond 
of  searching  for  prey  over  the  same  fields,  removing  from  one  plantation  to 
another,  and  returning  with  a  remarkable  degree  of  regularity,  and  this 
apparently  for  a  whole  season,  if  not  a  longer  period.  My  friend  John 
Bachman  observed  a  beautiful  old  male  which  had  one  of  its  primaries  cut 
short  by  a  shot,  regularly  return  to  the  same  rice-field  during  the  whole  of 
the  autumn  and  winter,  and  believes  that  the  same  individual  revisits  the 
same  spot  annually.  When  satiated  with  food,  the  Marsh  Hawk  may  be 
seen  perched  on  a  fence-stake  for  more  than  an  hour,  standing  motionless. 
On  horseback  I  have  approached  them  on  such  occasions  near  enough  to  see 
the  colour  of  their  eyes,  before  they  would  reluctantly  open  their  wings,  and 
remove  to  another  stake  not  far  distant,  where  they  would  probably  remain 
until  digestion  was  accomplished. 

I  have  never  seen  this  species  searching  for  food  in  the  dusk.  Indeed,  in 
our  latitudes,  when  the  orb  of  day  has  withdrawn  from  our  sight,  the  twilight 
is  so  short,  and  the  necessity  of  providing  a  place  of  safety  for  the  night  so 
imperious  in  birds  that  are  not  altogether  nocturnal,  that  I  doubt  whether 
the  Marsh  Hawk,  which  has  perhaps  been  on  wing  the  greater  part  of  the 
day,  and  has  had  many  opportunities  of  procuring  food,  would  continue  its 
flight  for  the  sake  of  the  scanty  fare  which  it  might  perchance  procure  at  a 
time  when  few  birds  are  abroad,  and  when  quadrupeds  only  are  awakening 
from  their  daily  slumber. 

Wilson  must  have  been  misinformed  by  some  one  unacquainted  with  the 
arrival  and  departure  of  this  species,  as  well  as  of  the  Rice  Bird,  in  South 
Carolina,  when  he  was  induced  to  say  that  the  Marsh  Hawk  "is  particularly 
serviceable  to  the  rice-fields  of  the  Southern  States,  by  the  havoc  it  makes 
among  the  clouds  of  Rice  Buntings  that  spread  such  devastation  among  the 
grain,  in  its  early  stages.  As  it  sails  low,  and  swiftly,  over  the  surface  of 
the  field,  it  keeps  the  flocks  in  perpetual  fluctuation,  and  greatly  interrupts 


HO  MARSH  HAWK. 

their  depredations.  The  planters  consider  one  Marsh  Hawk  to  be  equal  to 
several  Negroes  for  alarming  the  Rice  Birds."  Now,  good  reader,  my  friend 
John  Bachman,  who  has  resided  more  than  twenty  years  in  South  Carolina, 
and  who  is  a  constant  student  of  nature,  and  perhaps  more  especially  atten- 
tive to  the  habits  of  birds,  informs  me  that  the  Marsh  Hawk  is  proportionally 
rare  in  that  State,  and  that  it  only  makes  its  appearance  there  after  the  Rice 
Birds  have  left  the  country  for  the  south,  and  retires  at  the  approach  of 
spring,  before  they  have  arrived. 

Marsh  Hawk,  Falco  uliginosus,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  vi.  p.  67.    Young  Female. 
Falco  cyaneus,  Bonap.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  ii.  p.  30. 
Hen-Harrier  or  Marsh  Hawk,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  ii.  p.  109. 
Marsh  Hawk,  Falco  cyaneus,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  iv.  p.  396. 

Buteo  (Circus)  cyaneus?  var?  Americanus,  American  Hen-Harrier,  Swains,  and  Rich. 
F.  Bor.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  55. 

t 
Adult  male,  light  ash-grey;  abdomen,  tail-coverts,  lower  wing-coverts, 
inner  webs  of  secondary  quills  and  tail-feathers  white,  primaries  black  toward 
the  end.  Female,  umber-brown  above,  head,  hind  neck  and  scapulars  streaked 
with  light  red;  tail-coverts  white;  tail  banded  with  light  red;  lower  parts 
light  yellowish-red,  the  neck  streaked  with  brown.  Young  like  the  female, 
but  lighter. 

Male,  19f,  44.      Female,  20^,  46f. 


N?6. 


PI.  27. 


brawn  (ran  tenure  In    i  J  luOubon  i> .  -   | 


l.Jlh*  h";.i  i    -I  i-  :■■      ...    j    .    iWll  t'liiUwl" 


THE  SNOWY  OWL.  113 

Hawk  Owl,  Strix  funerea,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  115. 
Hawk  Owl,  Strix  funerea,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  iv.  p.  550. 

Male  and  Female. 

Tail  long,  much  rounded,  the  lateral  feathers  two  inches  shorter  than  the 
middle.  Upper  part  of  head  brownish-black,  closely  spotted  with  while, 
hind  neck  black,  with  two  broad  longitudinal  bands  of  white  spots;  rest  of 
upper  parts  dark  brown,  spotted  with  white;  tail  with  eight  transverse  bars 
of  white,  the  feathers  tipped  with  the  same;  facial  disks  greyish-white, 
margined  with  black;  lower  parts  transversely  barred  with  brown  and  dull 
white. 

Male,  15$,  31|.     Female,  17$. 


THE    SNOWY    OWL. 

7*Surnia  nyctea,  Linn. 

PLATE  XXVIII Male  and  Female. 

This  beautiful  bird  is  merely  a  winter  visitor  of  the  United  States,  where 
it  is  seldom  seen  before  the  month  of  November,  and  whence  it  retires  as 
early  as  the  beginning  of  February.  It  wanders  at  times  along  the  sea  coast, 
as  far  as  Georgia.  I  have  occasionally  seen  it  in  the  lower  parts  of  Kentucky, 
and  in  the  State  of  Ohio.  It  is  more  frequently  met  with  in  Pennsylvania 
and  the  Jerseys;  but  in  Massachusetts  and  Maine  it  is  far  more  abundant 
than  in  any  other  parts  of  the  Union. 

The  Snowy  Owl  hunts  during  the  day,  as  well  as  in  the  dusk.  Its  flight 
is  firm  and  protracted,  although  smooth  and  noiseless.  It  passes  swiftly 
over  its  hunting  ground,  seizes  its  prey  by  instantaneously  falling  on  it,  and 
generally  devours  it  on  the  spot.  When  the  objects  of  its  pursuit  are  on 
wing,  such  as  ducks,  grous,  or  pigeons,  it  gains  upon  them  by  urging  its 
speed,  and  strikes  them  somewhat  in  the  manner  of  the  Peregrine  Falcon. 
It  is  fond  of  the  neighbourhood  of  rivers  and  small  streams,  having  in  their 
course  cataracts  or  shallow  rapids,  on  the  borders  of  which  it  seizes  on  fishes, 
in  the  manner  of  our  wild  cat.  It  also  watches  the  traps  set  for  musk-rats, 
and  devours  the  animals  caught  in  them.  Its  usual  food,  while  it  remains 
with  us,  consists  of  hares,  squirrels,  rats,  and  fishes,  portions  of  all  of  which 
I  have  found  in  its  stomach.  In  several  fine  specimens  which  I  examined 
immediately  after  being  killed,  I  found  the  stomach  to  be  extremely  thin, 

Vol.  I.  17 


H4  THE  SNOWY  OWL. 

soft,  and  capable  of  great  extension.  In  one  of  them  I  found  the  whole  of  a 
large  house-rat,  in  pieces  of  considerable  size,  the  head  and  the  tail  almost 
entire.  This  bird  was  very  fat,  and  its  intestines,  which  were  thin,  and  so 
small  as  not  to  exceed  a  fourth  of  an  inch  in  diameter,  measured  4^  feet  in 
length. 

When  skinned,  the  body  of  the  Snowy  Owl  appears  at  first  sight  compact 
and  very  muscular,  for  the  breast  is  large,  as  are  the  thighs  and  legs,  these 
parts  being  covered  with  much  flesh  of  a  fine  and  delicate  appearance,  very 
much  resembling  that  of  a  chicken,  and  not  disagreeable  eating,  but  the 
thorax  is  very  narrow  for  so  large  a  bird.  The  keel  of  the  breast-bone  is 
fully  an  inch  deep  at  its  junction  with  the  fourchette,  which  is  wide.  The 
heart  and  liver  are  large;  the  oesophagus  is  extremely  wide,  enabling  the  bird 
to  swallow  very  large  portions  of  its  food  at  once.  The  skin  may  be  drawn 
over  the  head  without  any  difficulty,  and  from  the  body  with  ease.  The 
male  weighs  4  lbs.,  the  female  4f  lbs.,  avoirdupois. 

The  observations  which  I  have  made  induce  me  to  believe  that  the  pure 
and  rich  light  yellowish  whiteness  of  this  species  belongs  to  both  sexes  after 
a  certain  age.  I  have  shot  specimens  which  were,  as  I  thought,  so  young  as 
to  be  nearly  of  a  uniform  light-brown  tint,  and  which  puzzled  me  for  several 
years,  as  I  had  at  first  conceived  them  to  be  of  a  different  species.  This, 
indeed,  led  me  to  think  that,  when  young,  these  birds  are  brown.  Others 
were  more  or  less  marked  with  broad  transverse  lines  of  deep  brown  or 
black;  but  I  have  seen  specimens  of  both  sexes  perfectly  free  from  spots, 
excepting  on  the  occiput,  where  I  have  never  missed  them. 

Scarcely  is  there  a  winter  which  does  not  bring  several  of  these  hardy 
natives  of  the  north  to  the  Falls  of  the  Ohio  at  Louisville.  At  the  break  of 
day,  one  morning,  when  I  lay  hidden  in  a  pile  of  drift  logs,  at  that  place, 
waiting  for  a  shot  at  some  wild  geese,  I  had  an  opportunity  of  seeing  this 
Owl  secure  fish  in  the  following  manner: — While  watching  for  their  prey  on 
the  borders  of  the  "pots,"  they  invariably  lay  flat  on  the  rock,  with  the 
body  placed  lengthwise  along  the  border  of  the  hole,  the  head  also  laid  down, 
but  turned  towards  the  water.  One  might  have  supposed  the  bird  sound 
asleep,  as  it  would  remain  in  the  same  position  until  a  good  opportunity  of 
securing  a  fish  occurred,  which  I  believe  was  never  missed;  for,  as  the  latter 
unwittingly  rose  to  the  surface,  near  the  edge,  that  instant  the  Owl  thrust 
out  the  foot  next  the  water,  and,  with  the  quickness  of  lightning,  seized  it, 
and  drew  it  out.  The  Owl  then  removed  to  the  distance  of  a  few  yards, 
devoured  its  prey,  and  returned  to  the  same  hole;  or,  if  it  had  not  perceived 
any  more  fish,  flew  only  a  few  yards  over  the  many  pots  there,  marked  one, 
and  alighted  at  a  little  distance  from  it.  It  then  squatted,  moved  slowly 
towards  the  edge,  and  lay  as  before  watching  for  an  opportunity.    Whenever 


N°6 


PI.  28 


&J3 


/7f^//?/ 


Brawn  from  Xa,ure  by  3.3  ftndtibo 


Lilha  Pi-inK-d  fcColfby  .1  l'Bo»ni  ll.ilrs,' 


THE  SNOWY  OWL.  115 

a  fish  of  any  size  was  hooked,  as  I  may  say,  the  Owl  struck  the  other  foot 
also  into  it,  and  flew  off  with  it  to  a  considerable  distance.  In  two  instances 
of  this  kind,  I  saw  the  bird  carry  its  prey  across  the  Western  or  Indiana 
Shute,  into  the  woods,  as  if  to  be  quite  out  of  harm's  way.  I  never  heard  it 
utter  a  single  note  on  such  occasions,  even  when  two  birds  joined  in  the 
repast,  which  was  frequently  the  case,  when  the  fish  that  had  been  caught 
was  of  a  large  size.  At  sunrise,  or  shortly  after,  the  Owls  flew  to  the  woods, 
and  I  did  not  see  them  until  the  next  morning,  when,  after  witnessing  the 
same  feats,  I  watched  an  opportunity,  and  killed  both  at  one  shot. 

An  old  hunter,  now  residing  in  Maine,  told  me  that  one  winter  he  lost  so 
many  musk-rats  by  the  Owls,  that  he  resolved  to  destroy  them.  To  effect 
this,  without  loss  of  ammunition,  a  great  object  to  him,  he  placed  musk-rats 
caught  in  the  traps  usually  employed  for  the  purpose,  in  a  prominent  spot, 
and  in  the  centre  of  a  larger  trap.  He  said  he  seldom  failed,  and  in  this 
manner  considerably  "thinned  the  thieves,"  before  the  season  was  over. 
He  found,  however,  more  of  the  Great  Grey  Owl,  Strix  cinerea,  than  of 
the  Snowy  Owl.  The  latter  he  thought  was  much  more  cunning  than  the 
former. 

In  the  course  of  a  winter  spent  at  Boston,  I  had  some  superb  specimens  of 
the  Snowy  Owl  brought  to  me,  one  of  which,  a  male,  was  alive,  having  only 
been  touched  in  the  wing.  He  stood  upright,  keeping  his  feathers  close,  but 
would  not  suffer  me  to  approach  him.  His  fine  eyes  watched  every  move- 
ment I  made,  and  if  I  attempted  to  walk  round  him,  the  instant  his  head  had 
turned  as  far  as  he  could  still  see  me,  he  would  open  his  wings,  and  with 
large  hops  get  to  a  corner  of  the  room,  when  he  would  turn  towards  me,  and 
again  watch  my  approach.  This  bird  had  been  procured  on  one  of  the  sea- 
islands  off  Boston,  by  a  gunner  in  my  employ,  who,  after  following  it  from 
one  rock  to  another,  with  difficulty  wounded  it.  In  the  course  of  the  same 
winter,  I  saw  one  sailing  high  over  the  bay  along  with  a  number  of  gulls, 
which  appeared  to  dislike  his  company,  and  chased  him  at  a  respectful  dis- 
tance, the  owl  seeming  to  pay  no  regard  to  them. 

Several  individuals  have  been  procured  in  South  Carolina,  one  on  James' 
Island,  another,  now  in  the  Charleston  Museum,  on  Clarkson's  plantation, 
and  a  fine  one  was  shot  at  Columbia,  the  seat  of  government,  from  the  chim- 
ney of  one  of  the  largest  houses  in  that  town,  and  was  beautifully  preserved 
by  Professor  Gibbes  of  the  Columbia  College.  I  once  met  with  one  while 
walking  with  a  friend  near  Louisville  in  Kentucky,  in  the  middle  of  the  day. 
It  was  perched  on  a  broken  stump  of  a  tree  in  the  centre  of  a  large  field; 
and,  on  seeing  us,  flew  off,  sailed  round  the  field,  and  alighted  again  on  the 
same  spot.  It  evinced  much  impatience  and  apprehension,  opening  its  wings 
several  times  as  if  intending  to  fly  off;  but,  with  some  care,  it  was  approached 


116  LITTLE  NIGHT  OWL. 

and  shot.  It  proved  to  be  a  fine  old  female,  the  plumage  of  which  was 
almost  pure  white.  I  have  heard  of  individuals  having  been  seen  as  far 
down  the  Mississippi  as  the  town  of  Memphis.  Some  Indians  assured  me 
that  they  had  shot  one  at  the  mouth  of  the  Red  River;  and,  while  on  the 
Arkansas  River,  I  was  frequently  told  of  a  large  White  Owl  that  had  been 
seen  there  during  winter. 

So  much  has  been  said  to  me  of  its  breeding  in  the  northern  parts  of  the 
State  of  Maine,  that  this  may  possibly  be  correct.  In  Nova  Scotia  they  are 
abundant  at  the  approach  of  winter;  and  Professor  MacCulloch,  of  the  Uni- 
versity of  Pictou,  shewed  me  several  beautiful  specimens  in  his  fine  collec- 
tion of  North  American  Birds.  Of  its  place  and  mode  of  breeding  I  know 
nothing;  for,  although  every  person  to  whom  I  spoke  of  this  bird  while  in 
Labrador  knew  it,  my  party  saw  none  there;  and  in  Newfoundland  we  were 
equally  unsuccessful  in  our  search. 

Strix  nyctea,  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.,  vol.  i.  p.  132. — Lath.,  Index  Ornith.,  vol.  i.  p.  57. — 
Ch.  Bonaparte,  Synops.  of  Birds  of  the  United  States,  p.  36. — Swains,  and  Richards. 
Fauna  Bor.  Americ,  vol.  i.  p.  88. 

Snowy  Owl,  Strix  nyctea,  Wils.  Arner.  Orn.,  vol.  iv.  p.  53,  pi.  xxxii.  fig.  1. — Nutt.  Man., 
vol.  i.  p.  116. 

Male  and  Female. 

Tail  rather  long,  moderately  rounded;  plumage  white;  head  and  back 
spotted;  wings,  tail,  and  lower  parts  barred  with  dusky  brown.  Young  pure 
white.     Individuals  vary  much  in  markings. 

Male,  21,  53.     Female,  26,  65. 


LITTLE   NIGHT   OWL. 

StritNiA  passerina,  Linn. 

PLATE  XXIX. 

The  specimen  from  which  my  drawing  of  this  bird  was  taken,  was  pro- 
cured near  Pictou  in  Nova  Scotia,  by  my  young  friend  Thomas  M'Culloch, 
Esq.,  who  assured  me  that  it  is  not  very  uncommon  there.  How  far  south- 
ward it  may  proceed  in  winter  I  have  not  been  able  to  ascertain;  nor  have  I 
ever  met  with  it  in  any  part  of  the  United  States.  It  is  also  said  to  be  abun- 
dant in  Newfoundland,  and  not  rare  in  Labrador.  My  specimen  is  a  female, 
and  was  shot  in  winter. 


118  LITTLE  COLUMBIAN  OWL. 

shooting  cranes  along  the  banks  of  the  river.  The  specimen  is  somewhat 
mutilated,  in  consequence  of  having  lost  one  wing  by  the  ball.  The  stomach 
contained  nearly  the  whole  body  of  a  Ruby-crowned  Wren,  with  a  few  small 
remnants  of  beetles  and  worms.  It  was  a  male;  its  irides  bright  yellow; 
and  it  measured  7  inches  in  length.  The  tail  is  exactly  3  inches  long,  and 
extends  2\  inches  beyond  the  closed  wings." 

I  have  seen  several  specimens  of  this  Owl  in  the  Edinburgh  Museum, 
which  had  also  been  sent  from  Fort  Vancouver  by  Dr.  Merideth  Gaird- 
ner. 

Cheveche  chevechoide,  Strix  passerinoides,  Temm.  PL  Col.  344. 

Little  Columbian  Owl,  Strix  passerinoides,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  v.  p.  271. 

Male. 

Tail  of  moderate  length,  straight,  slightly  rounded;  wings  rather  short, 
much  rounded,  fourth  quill  longest,  outer  three  abruptly  cut  out  on  the  inner 
web,  the  first  with  its  filaments  thickened  but  not  recurvate,  those  of  the 
second  and  third  also  thickened  toward  the  end.  General  colour  of  the 
upper  parts  olivaceous  brown;  the  head  with  numerous  small,  roundish, 
yellowish-white  spots  margined  with  dusky,  of  which  there  are  two  on  each 
feather;  the  rest  of  the  upper  parts  marked  with  larger,  angular,  whitish 
spots;  the  quills  generally  with  three  small  and  five  large  white  spots  on  the 
outer  and  inner  webs;  the  tail  barred  with  transversely  oblong  white  spots, 
of  which  there  are  seven  pairs  on  the  middle  feathers.  Facial  disk  brown, 
spotted  with  white;  throat  white,  then  a  transverse  brown  band,  succeeded 
by  white;  the  lower  parts  white,  with  longitudinal  brownish-black  streaks; 
the  sides  brown,  faintly  spotted  with  paler.  Young  with  the  upper  parts 
rufous,  the  head  with  fewer  and  smaller  white  spots;  those  on  the  lower  part 
of  the  hind  neck  very  large;  the  back,  scapulars,  and  wing-coverts  unspotted; 
the  wings  marked  as  in  the  adult,  but  with  pale  red  spots  in  the  outer,  and 
reddish-white  on  the  inner  webs;  the  tail  with  only  five  bands  of  spots;  the 
lower  parts  white,  longitudinally  streaked  with  light  red,  of  which  colour 
are  the  sides  of  the  body  and  neck,  and  a  band  across  the  throat. 

Male,  7;  wing  3f|. 


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BURROWING  OWL.  121 

one  burrow,  yet  we  are  well  assured  by  Pike  and  others,  that  a  common 
danger  often  drives  them  into  the  same  excavation,  where  lizards  and  rattle- 
snakes also  enter  for  concealment  and  safety. 

The  note  of  our  bird  is  strikingly  similar  to  the  cry  of  the  Marmot,  which 
sounds  like  cheh,  cheh,  pronounced  several  times  in  rapid  succession.  Its 
food  appears  to  consist  entirely  of  insects,  as,  on  examination  of  its  stomach, 
nothing  but  parts  of  their  hard  wing-cases  were  found." 

Burrowing  Owl,  Strix  cunicularia,  Say,  in  Long's  Exped.,  vol.  i.  p.  200. 
Burrowing  Owl,  Strix  cunicularia,  Bonap.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  i.  p.  68. 
Burrowing  Owl,  Strix  cunicularia,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  v.  p.  264. 
Burrowing  Owl,  Strix  cunicularia,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  118. 

Feet  rather  long,  slender;  tarsus  covered  with  short  soft  feathers,  of  which 
the  shafts  only  remain  toward  the  lower  part;  toes  short,  their  upper  surface 
covered  with  bristles  or  the  shafts  of  feathers;  tail  short,  arched,  narrow, 
slightly  rounded.  Bill  greyish-yellow;  claws  black.  General  colour  of 
upper  parts  light  yellowish-brown,  or  umber-brown,  spotted  with  white;  the 
quills  with  triangular  reddish-white  spots  from  the  margins  of  both  webs, 
there  being  five  on  each  web  of  the  first;  the  tail  similarly  barred,  there 
being  on  the  middle  feathers  four  double  spots,  and  the  tips  of  all  white. 
Face  greyish-white;  throat  and  ruff  white,  succeeded  by  a  mottled  brown 
band,  beneath  which  is  a  patch  of  white;  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts  yellowish- 
white,  with  broad  bars  of  light  reddish-brown,  which  are  closer  on  the  sides 
of  the  breast;  abdomen,  lower  tail-coverts,  and  legs  without  spots. 

Male,  10,  24.     Female,  11. 


Genus  II.— ULULA.     NIGHT-OWL. 

Bill  short,  strong,  very  deep,  its  upper  outline  decurved  from  the  base; 
lower  mandible  abruptly  rounded,  with  a  notch  on  each  side.  Nostrils 
broadly  elliptical,  rather  large.  Conch  of  ear  very  large,  elliptical,  extending 
from  the  base  of  the  lower  jaw  to  near  the  top  of  the  head,  with  an  anterior 
semicircular  operculum  in  its  whole  length.  Feet  rather  short,  strong;  tarsi 
and  toes  covered  with  very  soft  downy  feathers.  Plumage  full,  and  very 
soft;  facial  disks  complete.  Wings  rather  long,  very  broad,  much  rounded, 
the  third  quill  longest;  the  filaments  of  the  first,  half  of  the  second,  and  the 
terminal  part  of  the  third,  free  and  recurved.  Tail  of  moderate  length, 
arched,  slightly  rounded. 

Vol.  I.  18 


122 


TENGMALM'S    OWL. 

-+-Vlula  Texgmalmi,  Gmel. 

PLATE  XXXII.— Male  and  Female. 

I  procured  a  fine  male  of  this  species  at  Bangor,  in  Maine,  on  the  Penob- 
scot River,  in  the  beginning  of  September,  1832;  but  am  unacquainted  with 
its  habits,  never  having  seen  another  individual  alive.  Mr.  Townsend 
informs  me  that  he  found  it  on  the  Malade  River  Mountains,  where  it  was 
so  tame  and  unsuspicious,  that  Mr.  Nttttall  was  enabled  to  approach  within 
a  few  feet  of  it,  as  it  sat  upon  the  bushes.  Dr.  Richardson  gives  the 
following  notice  respecting  it  in  the  Fauna  Boreali-Americana: — "When  it 
accidentally  wanders  abroad  in  the  day,  it  is  so  much  dazzled  by  the  light 
of  the  sun  as  to  become  stupid,  and  it  may  then  be  easily  caught  by  the 
hand.  Its  cry  in  the  night  is  a  single  melancholy  note,  repeated  at  intervals 
of  a  minute  or  two.  Mr.  Hutchins  informs  us  that  it  builds  a  nest  of  grass 
half  way  up  a  pine  tree,  and  lays  two  white  eggs  in  the  month  of  May.  It 
feeds  on  mice  and  beetles.  I  cannot  state  the  extent  of  its  range,  but  believe 
that  it  inhabits  all  the  woody  country  from  Great  Slave  Lake  to  the  United 
States.  On  the  banks  of  the  Saskatchewan  it  is  so  common  that  its  voice  is 
heard  almost  every  night  by  the  traveller,  wherever  he  selects  his  bivouac." 

Strix  Tengmalmi,  Tengmalni's  Owl,  Swains,  and  Rich.  F.  Bor.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  94. 
Tengmalm's  Owl,  Strix  Tengmalmi,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  iv.  p.  559. 

General  colour  of  upper  parts  greyish-brown,  tinged  with  olive;  feathers 
of  the  head  with  an  elliptical  central  white  spot;  those  of  the  neck  with  a 
larger  spot;  scapulars  with  two  or  four  large  round  spots  near  the  end,  and 
some  of  the  dorsal  feathers  and  wing-coverts  with  single  spots  on  the  outer 
web;  all  the  quills  margined  with  white  spots  on  both  webs,  arranged  in 
transverse  series,  there  being  six  on  the  outer  web  of  the  third;  on  the  tail 
five  series  of  transversely  elongated  white  spots.  Disk  yellowish- white, 
anteriorly  black;  ruff  yellowish-white,  mottled  with  dusky;  throat  brown, 
chin  white;  lower  parts  yellowish-white,  longitudinally  streaked  with  brown; 
some  of  the  feathers  of  the  sides  with  two  white  spots;  tarsal  and  digital 
feathers  greyish-yellow,  with  faint  transverse  brown  bars. 

Male,  11,  wing  6|f.     Female,  12. 


124  THE  LITTLE  OR  ACADIAN  OWL. 

the  hole  where  the  brood  lay  concealed,  I  might  not  have  discovered  them. 
In  this  instance  the  number  was  five.  It  was  in  the  beginning  of  June,  and 
the  little  things,  which  were  almost  ready  to  fly,  looked  exceedingly  neat 
and  beautiful.  The  Little  Owl  breeds  more  abundantly  near  the  shores  of 
the  Atlantic  than  in  the  interior  of  the  country,  and  is  frequent  in  the 
swamps  of  the  States  of  Maryland  and  New  Jersey,  during  the  whole  year. 
Wherever  I  have  found  the  young  or  the  eggs  placed  in  a  hollow  tree,  they 
were  merely  deposited  on  the  rotten  particles  of  wood;  and  when  in  an  old 
Crow's  nest,  the  latter  did  not  appear  to  have  undergone  any  repair. 

This  species  evinces  a  strong  and  curious  propensity  to  visit  the  interior 
of  our  cities.  I  have  known  some  caught  alive  in  the  Philadelphia  Museum, 
as  well  as  in  that  of  Baltimore;  and,  whilst  at  Cincinnati,  I  had  one  brought 
to  me  which  had  been  taken  from  the  edge  of  a  cradle,  in  which  a  child  lay 
asleep,  to  the  no  small  astonishment  of  the  mother. 

Being  quite  nocturnal,  it  shews  great  uneasiness  when  disturbed  by  day, 
and  flies  off"  in  a  hurried  uncertain  manner,  throwing  itself  into  the  first 
covert  it  meets  with,  where  it  is  not  difficult  to  catch  it,  provided  the  neces- 
sary caution  and  silence  be  used.  Towards  dusk  it  becomes  full  of  animation, 
flies  swiftly,  gliding,  as  it  were,  over  the  low  grounds,  like  a  little  spectre, 
and  pounces  on  small  quadrupeds  and  birds  with  the  quickness  of  thought. 
Its  common  cry  at  night  resembles  that  of  the  European  Scops  Owl,  but  is 
more  like  the  dull  sounds  of  a  whistle  than  that  of  Owls  generally  is. 

My  friend  Mr.  T.  MacCulloch,  jun.,  has  favoured  me  with  the  following 
curious  notice  respecting  this  bird.  "In  the  beginning  of  April,  when  the 
snow  was  still  lying  in  large  patches  in  the  woods,  although  it  had  entirely 
disappeared  from  the  clear  lands,  I  went  out  with  my  gun  one  afternoon, 
expecting  to  obtain  some  of  the  small  birds  which  remove  to  the  north  on 
the  first  approach  of  spring.  Having  wandered  about  four  miles  from  home 
witbout  meeting  with  any  thing  worthy  of  notice,  I  had  almost  determined 
to  return,  when  my  attention  was  arrested  by  a  sound  which  at  first  seemed 
to  me  like  the  faint  tones  of  a  distant  bell.  The  resemblance  was  so  exceed- 
ingly strong  that  I  believe  the  mistake  would  not  have  been  detected,  had 
not  a  slight  variation  in  it  induced  me  to  listen  more  attentively,  and  mark 
the  direction  in  which  it  seemed  to  come.  With  the  view  of  ascertaining  its 
origin  if  possible,  I  crossed  an  intervening  farm,  and  striking  into  a  dense 
spruce  wood,  directed  my  course  towards  the  point  from  which  it  seemed  to 
proceed.  While  listening  to  the  singular  note,  the  accounts  which  I  had 
seen  of  the  Tardus  iinniens  or  Bell  Bird  of  the  southern  portion  of  the 
continent  forcibly  recurred  to  my  mind,  and  rendered  me  doubly  eager  to 
discover  its  source.  This,  however,  I  found  to  be  no  easy  matter.  After 
proceeding  a  considerable  distance  in  the  woods  the  sound  became  suddenly 


THE  LITTLE  OR  ACADIAN  OWL.  125 

sharp  and  shrill,  and  seemed  so  close  behind  me  that  I  started  involuntarily. 
Having  carefully  examined  all  the  adjacent  trees  without  success,  I  was 
about  giving  it  up  in  despair,  when  the  note  which  first  attracted  my  attention 
seemed  to   come   in   the  former  direction.     Before  I  had  advanced  many 
steps,  the  sound  changed  as  before;  at  one  moment  it  seemed  behind  me,  the 
next  upon  the  right  hand,  then  upon  the  left,  and  then  it  resumed  its  former 
distant  mellow  tone.     This  occurred  so  often,  that  I  was  completely  puzzled 
and  tempted  to  give  up  the  pursuit,  but  still  the  desire  of  finding  out  the 
origin  of  the  sound  urged  me  on.      After  proceeding  a  considerable  distance 
farther,  I  found  that  the  bell-like  sound  now  came  from  the  opposite  direc- 
tion, and  seemed  far  beyond  the  spot  where  I  first  heard  it.     Retracing  my 
steps  I  entered  a  small  cleared  spot,  in  the  centre  of  which  stood  a  black 
birch,  whose  dead  and  decayed  top  projected  beyond  a  vigorous  growth  of 
fresh  branches,  by  which  its  sides  were  clothed.      As  1  seated  myself  upon  a 
prostrate  log,  the  shrill  note  was  suddenly  resumed,  and  from  the  direction 
of  the  sound  I  was  convinced  that  it  proceeded  from  the  birch  tree.    Almost 
breathless  with  expectation,  I  carefully  examined  the  tree  from  top  to  bot- 
tom, but  the  secret  still  remained  concealed.      Moving  cautiously  round,  I 
examined  the  other  side  of  the  tree,  but  with  no  better  success,  until  going 
to  the  root,  and  directing  my  eye  along  the  trunk,  I  observed  a  small  pro- 
tuberance, which  at  first  appeared  to  be  a  knot.      Inspecting  it  more  closely, 
however,  I  found  it  to  be  the  head  of  the  Little  Grey  Owl,  protruded  from 
a  small  aperture,  which  probably  formed  the  entrance  of  its  nest.      Though 
standing  directly  beneath  the  bird,  it  did  not  seem  to  observe  me,  but  con- 
tinued to  call  for  its  mate.     While  watching  the  Owl,  I  observed  with  no 
little  surprise  that  the  sound  which  I  thought  came  from  a  distance,  as  well 
as  that  which  was  near,  actually  proceeded  from   the  same   source.     This 
singular  power  of  altering  the  voice  I  have  never  found  in  any  other  bird, 
and  to  me  it  appeared  analogous  to  that  by  which  ventriloquists  are  able  to 
make  the  voice  seem  near  or  remote.     Having  enjoyed  the  pleasing  decep- 
tion for  some  time,  I  left  the  little  performer  unmolested,  feeling  abundantly 
recompensed   for   my  long  tramp  through   mire   and   slush  by  the   curious 
discovery.     This  was  the  only  time  I  ever  heard  the  note  of  this  Owl. 
Frequently  I  have  had  it  alive,  but  it  was  invariably  silent,  and,  like  the 
Strix  flammea,  would  sometimes  feign  itself  dead;  and  last  winter  I  shot 
one  which  was  placed  upon  its  back  in  a  scale,  and  handled  a  good  deal,  yet 
it  shewed  no  signs  of  life  until  thrown  into  a  box,  when  it  started  up,  and 
looked  about  sharply  enough.'7 

In  all  parts  of  the  United  States  where  this  species  occurs  it  is  a  permanent 
resident. 


126  THE  LITTLE  OR  ACADIAN  OWL. 

Little  Owl,  Strix passerina,  Wils.  Amer.  Om.,  vol.  iv.  p.  61. 

Strix  acadica,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  38. 

Strix  acadica,  American  Sparrow  Owl,  Swains,  and  Rich.  F.  Bor.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  97. 

Acadian  Owl,  Strix  acadica,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  137. 

Little  or  Acadian  Owl,  Strix  acadica,  Aud.  Om.  Biog.,  vol.  ii.  p.  567;  vol.  v.  p.  397. 

General  colour  of  upper  part  olivaceous  brown;  scapulars  and  some  of  the 
wing-coverts  spotted  with  white;  the  first  six  primary  quills  obliquely  barred 
with  white;  tail  darker,  with  two  narrow  white  bars;  upper  part  of  head 
streaked  with  greyish-white;  disks  pale  yellowish-grey;  ruff  white,  spotted 
with  dusky.  Lower  parts  whitish,  the  sides  and  breast  marked  with  broad 
elongated  patches  of  brownish-red. 

Male,  7 \,  17.     Female,  S|,  18. 


Genus  III.— STRIX,  Linn.    SCREECH-OWL. 

Bill  short,  compressed,  deep,  strong;  upper  mandible  with  its  dorsal  out- 
line straight  to  the  end  of  the  cere,  then  curved,  the  sides  nearly  flat  and 
erect,  the  tip  deflected,  with  a  rounded  but  sharp-edged  point;  lower  man- 
dible with  the  dorsal  line  convex,  the  sides  convex,  the  edges  arched,  the 
tip  obliquely  truncate.  Conch  of  the  ear  semicircular,  extending  from  over 
the  anterior  angle  of  the  eye  to  the  middle  of  the  lower  jaw;  aperture  large, 
somewhat  square,  with  an  anterior  operculum  fringed  with  feathers.  Legs 
rather  long,  tarsus  long,  feathered,  scaly  at  the  lower  part;  toes  large,  the 
first  short,  the  inner  nearly  as  long  as  the  middle,  all  with  series  of  small 
tuberculiform  oblong  scales,  intermixed  with  a  few  bristles,  and  three  broad 
scutella  at  the  end.  Claws  arched,  long,  extremely  sharp,  the  edge  of  the 
third  thin  and  transversely  cracked  in  old  birds.  Plumage  very  soft  and 
downy;  facial  disks  complete.  Wings  long,  ample,  rounded;  the  first  quill 
with  the  filaments  recurved.     Tail  rather  short,  even. 


2SJ9  7. 


PI  34. 


AS1 


y4tvm/ 


Hrswn  •■■■..- 


I  .nil'1  IVmied  a  c  W  I'v  3  T  IWr..  - 


THE  BARN  OWL.  129 

is  so  noiseless  that  one  is  surprised  to  find  them  removed  from  one  place  to 
another  without  having  heard  the  least  sound.  They  disgorge  their  pellets 
with  difficulty,  although  generally  at  a  single  effort,  but  I  did  not  observe 
that  this  action  was  performed  at  any  regular  period.  The  examination  of 
entire  specimens  has  brought  to  light  a  remarkable  and  unvarying  character 
in  the  feathers  which  fringe  the  operculum.  In  both  the  American  and 
European  species  the  tubes  of  these  feathers  are  very  large;  but  in  the 
American  bird  the  shafts  are  obsolete,  whereas  in  the  European  bird,  each 
tube  bears  a  very  slender  shaft,  about  half  an  inch  long,  and  furnished  with 
about  a  dozen  filaments  on  each  side,  forming  an  elliptical  or  obovate  feather. 
This  character  and  the  great  difference  in  size,  will  suffice  to  distinguish  the 
American  bird,  to  which,  it  having  been  shewn  to  be  distinct,  in  my  Orni- 
thological Biography,  I  have  given  the  name  of  Strix  Americana. 

White  or  Barn  Owl,  Strix  Jlammea,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  vi.  p.  57* 

Strix  flammea,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  38. 

White  or  Barn  Ovvl,  Strix  Jlammea,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  139. 

Barn  Owl,  Strix  Jlammea,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  ii.  p.  403;  vol.  v.  p.  388. 

Feathers  margining  the  operculum  with  the  shaft  and  webs  undeveloped. 
Bill  pale  greyish-yellow;  claws  and  scales  brownish-yellow.  General  colour 
of  upper  parts  greyish-brown,  with  light  yellowish-red  interspersed,  produced 
by  very  minute  mottling;  each  feather  having  toward  the  end  a  central  streak 
of  deep  brown,  terminated  by  a  small  oblong  greyish-white  spot;  wings 
similarly  coloured;  secondary  coverts  and  outer  edges  of  primary  coverts 
with  a  large  proportion  of  light  brownish-red;  quills  and  tail  transversely 
barred  with  brown;  lower  parts  pale  brownish-red,  fading  anteriorly  into 
white,  each  feather  having  a  small  dark  brown  spot  at  the  tip. 

Closely  allied  to  Strix  Jlammea,  but  larger,  and  differing  somewhat  in 
colour,  being  generally  darker,  with  the  ruff  red.  A  character  by  which 
they  may  always  be  distinguished  is  found  in  the  operculum,  the  feathers 
margining  which  are  in  the  present  species  reduced  to  their  tubes,  the  shafts 
and  filaments  being  wanting,  whereas  in  the  European  species  each  tube 
bears  a  very  slender  shaft,  about  half  an  inch  long,  and  furnished  with  about 
half  a  dozen  filaments  on  each  side. 

Male,  17,  42.     Female,  18,  46. 


Vol.  I.  19 


130 


Genus  IV.— SYRNIUM,  Cuv.     HOOTING-OWL. 

Bill  short,  stout,  broad  at  the  base;  upper  mandible  with  its  dorsal  outline 
convex  to  the  end  of  the  cere,  then  curved,  the  sides  sloping  and  nearly  flat, 
the  tip  compressed,  decurved,  acute;  lower  mandible  small,  with  the  dorsal 
line  convex,  the  tip  narrow,  the  edges  decurved  toward  the  end.  Nostrils 
large,  elliptical.  Conch  of  the  ear  of  medium  size,  and  furnished  with  an 
anterior  semicircular  operculum,  beset  with  slender  feathers.  Legs  rather 
short;  tarsi  very  short,  and  with  the  toes  feathered.  Claws  slightly  curved, 
long,  slender,  compressed,  acuminate.  Plumage  very  soft  and  downy;  facial 
disks  complete.  Wings  very  large,  much  rounded,  the  outer  quill  with  the 
tips  of  the  filaments  separated  and  recurved,  as  are  those  of  the  terminal 
portion  of  the  next;  the  outer  six  with  the  inner  webs  sinuate.  Tail  broad, 
rounded. 


GREAT    CINEREOUS   OWL. 

"f  Syrnitjm  cinereum,  Linn. 

PLATE  XXXV. 

This  fine  Owl,  which  is  the  largest  of  the  North  American  species,  is 
nowhere  common  with  us,  although  it  ranges  from  the  north-eastern  coast  of 
the  United  States  to  the  sources  of  the  Columbia  River.  It  has  been  procured 
near  Eastport  in  Maine,  and  at  Marblehead  in  Massachusetts,  where  one  of 
them  was  taken  alive,  perched  on  a  wood  pile,  early  in  the  morning,  in 
February,  1831.  I  went  to  Salem  for  the  purpose  of  seeing  it,  but  it  had 
died,  and  I  could  not  trace  its  remains.  The  gentleman,  Mr.  Ives,  in  whose 
keeping  it  had  been  for  several  months,  fed  it  on  fish  and  small  birds,  of 
which  it  was  very  fond.  Besides  shewing  me  various  marks  of  attention,  he 
gave  me  a  drawing  of  it  made  by  his  wife,  which  is  still  in  my  possession. 
It  uttered  at  times  a  tremulous  cry  not  unlike  that  of  the  Little  Screech  Owl, 
Strix  Jlsio,  and  shewed  a  great  antipathy  to  cats  and  dogs.  In  the  winter 
of  1832,  I  saw  one  of  these  Owls  flying  over  the  harbour  of  Boston,  Massa- 
chusetts, amid  several  Gulls,  all  of  which  continued  teasing  it  until  it  disap- 
peared.    I  have  seen  specimens  procured  on  the  Rocky  Mountains  by  Mr. 


132  THE  BARRED  OWL. 

undulated  with  darker;  tail  similarly  barred;  ruff-feathers  white  toward  the 
end,  dark  brown  in  the  centre;  disks  on  their  inner  sides  grey,  with  black 
tips,  in  the  rest  of  their  extent  greyish-white,  with  six  bars  of  blackish-brown 
very  regularly  disposed  in  a  concentric  manner;  lower  parts  greyish-brown, 
variegated  with  greyish  and  yellowish- white;  feet  barred  with  the  same. 
Female,  30£,  48^. 


THE   BARRED   OWL. 

"tSyrnium  nebulosiim,  Linn. 

PLATE  XXXVL— Male. 

Should  you,  kind  reader,  visit  the  noble  forests  of  the  lower  parts  of  the 
State  of  Louisiana,  about  the  middle  of  October,  when  nature,  on  the  eve  of 
preparing  for  approaching  night,  permits  useful  dews  to  fall  and  rest  on 
every  plant,  with  the  view  of  reviving  its  leaves,  its  fruits,  or  its  lingering 
blossoms  ere  the  return  of  morn;  when  every  night-insect  rises  on  buzzing 
wings  from  the  ground,  and  the  fire-fly,  amidst  thousands  of  other  species, 
appears  as  if  purposely  to  guide  their  motions  through  the  sombre  atmosphere; 
when  numerous  reptiles  and  quadrupeds  commence  their  nocturnal  prowl- 
ings,  and  the  fair  moon,  empress  of  the  night,  rises  peacefully  on  the  distant 
horizon,  shooting  her  silvery  rays  over  the  heavens  and  the  earth,  moving 
slowly  and  majestically  along;  when  the  husbandman,  just  returned  to  his 
home,  after  the  labours  of  the  day,  is  receiving  the  cheering  gratulations  of 
his  family,  and  the  wholesome  repast  is  about  to  be  spread  out; — it  is  at  this 
moment,  kind  reader,  that  your  ear  would  suddenly  be  struck  by  the  dis- 
cordant screams  of  the  Barred  Owl.  Its  ivhah,  whah,  ivhah,  whah-aa  is 
uttered  loudly,  and  in  so  strange  and  ludicrous  a  manner,  that  I  should  not 
be  surprised  were  you  to  compare  these  sounds  to  the  affected  bursts  of 
laughter  which  you  may  have  heard  from  some  of  the  fashionable  members 
of  our  own  species. 

How  often,  when  snugly  settled  under  the  boughs  of  my  temporary 
encampment,  and  preparing  to  roast  a  venison  steak  or  the  body  of  a  squir- 
rel, have  I  been  saluted  with  the  exulting  bursts  of  this  nightly  disturber  of 
the  peace,  that,  had  it  not  been  for  him,  would  have  prevailed  around  me, 
as  well  as  in  my  lonely  retreat!  How  often  have  I  seen  this  nocturnal 
marauder  alight  within  a  few  yards  of  me,  expose  his  whole  body  to  the 
glare  of  my  fire,  and  eye  me  in  such  a  curious  manner  that,  had  it  been 


T^°8- 


P136. 


W* 


-     ^////V//  C  ///• 


ri-„.._  i^-„,   \"     . .    U..    I    1   a.,.4.,^.-,.,     I 


LViiued  *  i  Rnhd" 


THE  BARRED  OWL.  135 

day  birds  ever  prove  dangerous  enemies,  their  conduct  towards  the  Owls  is 
evidently  productive  of  great  annoyance  to  them.  When  the  Barred  Owl  is 
shot  at  and  wounded,  it  snaps  its  bill  sharply  and  frequently,  raises  all  its 
feathers,  looks  towards  the  person  in  the  most  uncouth  manner,  but,  on  the 
least  chance  of  escape,  moves  off  in  great  leaps  with  considerable  rapidity. 

The  Barred  Owl  is  very  often  exposed  for  sale  in  the  New  Orleans  market. 
The  Creoles  make  gumbo  of  it,  and  pronounce  the  flesh  palatable. 

Barred  Owl,  Strix  nebulosa,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  iv.  p.  61. 

Strix  nebulosa,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  38. 

Barred  Owl,  Strix  nebulosa,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  133. 

Barred  Owl,  Strix  nebulosa,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  242;  vol.  v.  p.  386. 

General  colour  of  upper  parts  light  reddish-brown;  face  and  greater  part 
of  the  head  brownish-white;  the  feathers  of  the  latter  broadly  marked  with 
brown,  of  which  a  narrow  band  passes  from  the  bill  along  the  middle  of  the 
head;  feathers  of  the  back  and  most  of  the  wing-coverts  largely  spotted  with 
white;  primary  coverts,  quills,  and  tail,  barred  with  light  brownish-red; 
wings  and  tail  tipped  with  greyish-white;  lower  parts  pale  brownish-red, 
longitudinally  streaked  with  brown,  excepting  the  neck  and  upper  part  of 
the  breast,  which  are  transversely  marked;  the  abdomen,  which  is  yellowish- 
white,  and  the  tarsal  feathers,  which  are  light  reddish. 

Male,  18,  40. 


Genus  V.— OTUS,  Cuv.     EARED-OWL. 

Bill  short,  stout,  broader  than  high  at  the  base,  compressed  toward  the 
end;  upper  mandible  with  its  dorsal  line  slightly  curved  from  the  base, 
toward  the  end  decurved,  the  ridge  broad  at  the  base,  narrowed  anteriorly, 
the  sides  convex  toward  the  tip,  which  is  acute,  and  descends  obliquely; 
lower  mandible  straight,  with  the  dorsal  line  very  short  and  slightly  convex, 
the  back  and  sides  convex,  the  edges  toward  the  end  decurved,  and  with  a 
slight  sinus  on  each  side,  the  tip  obliquely  truncate.  Nostrils  large,  oblique, 
oblong.  Conch  of  extreme  size,  extending  from  the  level  of  the  forehead 
over  the  eye  to  the  chin  in  a  semilunar  form,  with  an  anterior  semicircular 
flap  in  its  whole  length;  the  aperture  large,  of  a  rhomboidal  form.  Feet  of 
moderate  length,  and  stout;  tarsi  short,  feathered,  as  are  the  toes;  the  first 
shortest,  the  second  and  fourth  nearly  equal;  claws  long,  curved  in  the  fourth 
of  a  circle,  extremely  acute,  the  first  and  second  rounded  beneath.    Plumage 


136  LONG-EARED  OWL. 

extremely  soft  and  downy,  facial  disks  complete,  ruff  distinct.  Two  small 
tufts  of  elongated  feathers  on  the  head.  Wings  long  and  broad;  the  second 
quill  longest;  the  outer  in  its  whole  length,  the  second  toward  the  end,  and 
the  first  alular  feather  with  the  filaments  disunited  and  recurved  at  the  ends. 
Tail  rather  short,  a  little  rounded. 


LONG-EARED   OWL. 

-f  Otus  vulgaris,  Fleming. 
PLATE  XXXVIL— Male. 

This  Owl  is  much  more  abundant  in  our  Middle  and  Eastern  Atlantic 
Districts  than  in  the  Southern  or  Western  parts.  My  friend  Dr.  Bachman 
has  never  observed  it  in  South  Carolina;  nor  have  I  met  with  it  in  Louisiana, 
or  any  where  on  the  Mississippi  below  the  junction  of  the  Ohio.  It  is  not 
very  rare  in  the  upper  parts  of  Indiana,  Illinois,  Ohio,  and  Kentucky, 
wherever  the  country  is  well  wooded.  In  the  Barrens  of  Kentucky  its 
predilection  for  woods  is  rendered  apparent  by  its  not  being  found  elsewhere 
than  in  the  "Groves;"  and  it  would  seem  that  it  very  rarely  extends  its 
search  for  food  beyond  the  skirts  of  those  delightful  retreats.  In  Pennsyl- 
vania, and  elsewhere  to  the  eastward,  I  have  found  it  most  numerous  on  or 
near  the  banks  of  our  numerous  clear  mountain  streams,  where,  during  the 
day,  it  is  not  uncommon  to  see  it  perched  on  the  top  of  a  low  bush  or  fir. 
At  such  times  it  stands  with  the  body  erect,  but  the  tarsi  bent  and  resting  on 
a  branch,  as  is  the  manner  of  almost  all  our  Owls.  The  head  then  seems  the 
largest  part,  the  body  being  much  more  slender  that  it  is  usually  represented. 
Now  and  then  it  raises  itself  and  stands  with  its  legs  and  neck  extended,  as 
if  the  better  to  mark  the  approach  of  an  intruder.  Its  eyes,  which  were 
closed  when  it  was  first  observed,  are  opened  on  the  least  noise,  and  it  seems 
to  squint  at  you  in  a  most  grotesque  manner,  although  it  is  not  difficult  to 
approach  very  near  it.  It  rarely  on  such  occasions  takes  to  wing,  but  throws 
itself  into  the  thicket,  and  makes  off  on  foot  by  means  of  pretty  long  leaps. 

The  Long-eared  Owl  is  careless  as  to  the  situation  in  which  its  young  are 
to  be  reared,  and  generally  accommodates  itself  with  an  abandoned  nest  of 
some  other  bird  that  proves  of  sufficient  size,  whether  it  be  high  or  low,  in 
the  fissure  of  a  rock  or  on  the  ground.  Sfmetimes  however  it  makes  a  nest 
itself,  and  this  I  found  to  be  the  case  in  one  instance  near  the  Juniata  River 
in  Pennsylvania,  where  it  was  composed  of  green  twigs  with  the  leaflets 


N°8. 


PI  3  7. 


&r 


^^/Z^.-^fZ^1^     (l4#6/. 


■<-.-:  ;■  I:  S.'l'.L  s 


l.iih?  Primed  &Colflv  J  T.IWcii  T'hilnrt" 


LONG-EARED  OWL. 


139 


twelfths  in  length,  their  greatest  diameter  5^  twelfths,  their  distance  from 
the  anus  3  inches  and  a  quarter.  The  cloaca  is  of  an  enormous  size,  ovate,  2 
inches  long,  1  inch  2  twelfths  broad.  It  contains  a  calculous  concretion  9 
twelfths  long,  7  twelfths  broad,  and  3  twelfths  thick. 

The  trachea,  which  is  3  inches  long,  is  3j  twelfths  in  breadth  at  the  upper 
part,  2^-  twelfths  in  the  middle,  and  3  twelfths  at  its  lower  extremity;  its 
rings  about  75  in  number,  cartilaginous,  and  considerably  flattened.  The 
lateral  muscles  are  strong,  the  sterno-tracheal  moderate,  and  there  is  a  single 
pair  of  very  slender  inferior  laryngeal  muscles.  Five  of  the  lower  rings  are 
elongated,  arched,  and  slit.     The  bronchi  are  rather  long,  of  12  half  rings. 

The  conch  of  the  ear,  Fig.  1,  is  of  enormous  size,  extending  from  the  level 
of  the  forehead  over  the  eye  to  the  chin,  in  a  semilunar  form,  of  which  the 
posterior  curve  is  3  inches,  and  the  distance  between  the  two  extremities  in 
a  direct  line  1  inch  and  a  half.  There  is  an  anterior  semicircular  flap  in  its 
whole  length,  5  twelfths  in  breadth  at  the  middle.  The  aperture  or  meatus 
externus  is  of  a  rhomboidal  form,  4|-  twelfths  in  length,  3^  twelfths  broad, 
bounded  anteriorly  by  the  eye,  posteriorly  by  a  ligament  extended  along  the 
edge  of  the  occipital  bone,  above  by  a  ligament  stretching  to  the  operculum, 
below  the  articulation  of  the  lower  jaw.  Above  the  meatus  is  a  deep  depres- 
sion covered  with  skin,  above  which  another  ligament  stretches  across  to  the 
operculum. 

In  another  specimen,  a  female,  the  oesophagus  is  5^  inches  long,  its  average 
diameter  11  twelfths.     The  intestine  is  21  inches  long,  from  2-J  twelfths  to 

1  twelfth  in  diameter;  the  cceca  are  2\  inches  in  length;  their  greatest  diame- 
ter 4  twelfths;  the  cloaca  still  larger  than  that  of  the  other  individuals,  being 

2  inches  long. 


Fig.l. 


^K^J^ 


140 


SHORT-EARED  OWL. 


SHORT-EARED   OWL 


TOtus  brachyotus,  Linn. 


PLATE  XXXVIII.— Male. 


Although  this  species  is  by  no  means  scarce  in  almost  any  part  of  the 
LTnited  States,  in  the  latter  half  of  autumn  and  during  winter,  very  few  indi- 
viduals spend  the  summer  south  of  the  Great  Pine  Swamp  of  Pennsylvania, 
where,  however,  some  occasionally  breed.  In  Nova  Scotia,  its  nest  has 
frequently  been  met  with,  and  in  Newfoundland  it  is  as  common  as  the 
Barred  Owl  is  in  Louisiana.  In  winter  I  have  found  it  so  plentiful  in  the 
Floridas,  that  I  have  shot  seven  in  the  course  of  a  morning,  while  I  was  at 
General  Hernandez'.     Indeed  I  was  surprised  to  see  the  great  number  of 


N°8. 


PI  .38. 


y^fe^s^^s^  ^^Jmsi 


Dr£vm  from  Nature  Xj\   J.J.Audubon.'K.ll  8.KL.S. 


],Wi*  ftiiUcH  ^cr1  by  .1  T  Bt/wc-n  Phila  l" 


SHORT-EARED  OWL.  141 

these  birds  which  at  that  period  were  to  be  found  in  the  open  prairies  of  that 
country,  rising  from  the  tall  grass  in  a  hurried  manner,  and  zig-zagging  for  a 
few  yards,  as  if  suddenly  wakened  from  sound  sleep,  then  sailing  to  some 
distance  in  a  direct  course,  and  dropping  among  the  thickest  herbage.  On 
such  an  occasion,  when  I  had  observed  the  bird  to  have  thrust  itself  into  a 
thicket  formed  of  tangled  palmettoes,  I  moved  towards  it  with  caution, 
approached  it,  and  caught  it  in  my  hand.  I  observed,  however,  that  these 
birds,  on  being  pursued  and  repeatedly  started  from  the  ground,  extended 
their  flight  so  far  as  to  be  quite  out  of  sight  before  alighting.  I  never  started 
two  birds  at  once,  but  always  found  them  singly  at  distances  of  from  twenty 
to  a  hundred  yards;  and  although  on  several  occasions  as  many  as  three 
were  seen  on  wing,  they  having  been  put  up  by  my  companions  and  myself, 
they  never  flew  towards  each  other,  but  went  off  in  different  directions,  as  if 
unaware  of  each  other's  presence. 

Its  predilection  for  the  ground  forms  a  very  distinctive  peculiarity  in  the 
habits  of  this  Owl,  as  compared  with  the  Long-eared;  for  although  it  alights 
on  bushes  and  trees,  this  seems  more  a  matter  of  necessity  than  of  choice; 
and  in  this  respect  it  resembles  the  Barn  Owls  which  I  found  on  Galveston 
Island.  I  have  never  observed  it  in  the  act  of  procuring  food,  although  it 
appears  to  see  pretty  well  by  da}^,  or  at  least  sufficiently  to  enable  it  to  dis- 
cover the  nature  of  the  spot  toward  which  it  removes  for  security. 

In  America,  the  Short-eared  Owl  has  been  observed  as  far  north  as  lati- 
tude 67°  by  Dr.  Richardson,  who  mentions  a  female  having  been  killed  at 
Fort  Franklin,  on  the  20th  of  May,  containing  several  pretty  large  eggs, 
nearly  ready  for  being  laid.  It  is  also  an  inhabitant  of  the  Rocky  Mountains, 
and  of  the  valley  of  the  Columbia  River,  from  which  it  has  been  sent  to  me 
by  Mr.  Townsend;  and  is  by  no  means  scarce  in  Kentucky,  Louisiana,  and 
along  the  coast  as  far  as  the  Texas. 

Having  so  frequently  met  with  many  of  these  birds  in  an  extent  of  ground 
not  exceeding  half  a  mile,  I  have  been  disposed  to  think,  that  during  the 
migratory  movements  of  this  species,  those  which  follow  in  the  rear  of  the 
first,  are  attracted  by  their  cries,  and  induced  to  alight  in  their  vicinity;  but 
of  this  I  have  no  positive  proof,  nor  have  I  ever  seen  them  travelling  from  , 
one  part  of  the  country  to  another. 

The  only  nest  of  this  bird  that  I  have  found  was  placed  on  one  of  the  high 
mountain  ridges  of  the  Great  Pine  Forest.  It  contained  four  eggs,  nearly 
ready  to  be  hatched.  They  were  of  a  dull  bluish-white,  covered  with  excre- 
ment, of  a  somewhat  elongated  or  elliptical  form,  measuring  an  inch  and  a 
half  in  length,  and  an  inch  and  an  eighth  in  breadth.  The  nest,  which  I  met 
with  on  the  17th  of  June,  was  placed  under  a  low  bush,  and  covered  over  by 
tall  grass,  through  which  a  path  had  been  made  by  the  bird.     It  was  formed 


142  SHORT-EARED  OWL. 

of  dry  grass,  raked  together  in  a  slovenly  manner,  and  quite  flat,  but  cover- 
ing a  large  space,  on  one  side  of  which  were  found  many  pellets,  and  two 
field-mice,  which  must  have  been  brought  there  in  the  course  of  the  preced- 
ing night,  as  they  were  quite  fresh.  I  should  never  have  discovered  their 
nest  had  not  the  sitting  bird  made  a  noise  by  clicking  its  bill  as  I  was  passing 
close  by.  The  poor  thing  was  so  intent  on  her  task  that  I  almost  put  my 
hand  on  her  before  she  moved;  and  then,  instead  of  flying  off,  she  hopped 
with  great  leaps  until  about  ten  yards  from  me,  keeping  up  a  constant  click- 
ing of  her  mandibles.  Having  satisfied  myself  as  to  the  species,  made  an 
outline  of  two  of  the  eggs,  and  measured  them,  I  proceeded  slowly  to  a  short 
distance,  and  watched  her  movements.  Having  remained  silent  and  still  for 
about  ten  minutes,  I  saw  her  hop  toward  the  nest,  and  soon  felt  assured  that 
she  had  resumed  her  task.  It  was  my  intention  to  revisit  the  spot,  and  take 
note  of  the  growth  of  the  young,  but  letters  which  came  to  me  from  Phila- 
delphia a  few  days  after,  induced  me  to  return  thither;  and  since  then  I  have 
had  no  opportunity  of  examining  either  the  eggs  or  young  of  the  Short-eared 
Owl. 

On  examining  the  pellets  disgorged  by  this  bird,  I  found  them  to  be  formed 
of  the  remains  of  bones  of  small  quadrupeds,  mixed  with  hair,  and  the  elytra 
of  various  coleopterous  insects.  In  its  diurnal  flight,  the  flappings  of  its 
wings  are  noiseless,  as  in  most  other  species,  and  it  is  apt  to  sail  many  yards 
at  a  time  before  alighting.  Like  the  rest  of  the  family,  when  reposing,  they 
stand  as  if  crouched  on  the  full  length  of  their  tarsi,  and  the  slight  crests  or 
tufts  of  feathers  on  their  head  are,  on  such  occasions,  usually  so  lowered  as 
to  be  scarcely  perceptible. 

Short-eared  Owl,  Slrix  brachyotos,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  iv.  p.  64. 
Strix  brachyotos,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  37. 

Short-eared  Owl,  Slrix  brachyotos,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  132. 
Short-eared  Owl,  Strix  brachyotos,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  v.  p.  273. 

Tufts  inconspicuous,  general  colour  of  plumage  buff,  variegated  with  dark 
brown;  eye  surrounded  by  a  ring  of  brownish-black,  much  broader  behind; 
anterior  half  of  disk  white,  with  the  tips  black,  posterior  yellowish;  anterior 
auricular  ruff  white,  posterior  yellowish,  each  feather  with  an  oblong  dark 
brown  spot;  upper  parts  buff,  longitudinally  streaked  with  dark  brown; 
scapulars  and  wing-coverts  spotted  and  banded  in  large  patches,  many  with 
a  large  yellowish-white  spot  on  the  outer  web  near  the  end;  quills  buff,  with 
two  or  three  dark  brown  bands;  tail  similar,  with  five  broad  dark  bands,  the 
tip  yellowish-white;  on  the  middle  feathers  the  light  coloured  spaces  have  a 
brown  central  patch;  lower  parts  pale  buff,  whitish  behind,  the  neck  with 
oblong,  the  breast  and  sides  with  linear  dark  brown  streaks;  chin,  feet, 
abdomen,  and  lower  tail-coverts  unspotted. 


N°8. 


IP1.39. 


t^/r&z/'     <^u?wz&/y-  CJ/^. 


■ 


■ ...  .■ , 


THE  GREAT  HORNED  OWL.  145 

The  food  of  the  Great  Horned  Owl  consists  chiefly  of  the  larger  species  of 
gallinaceous  birds,  half-grown  Wild  Turkeys,  Pheasants,  and  domestic  poul- 
try of  all  kinds,  together  with  several  species  of  Ducks.  Hares,  young 
Opossums  and  Squirrels  are  equally  agreeable  to  it,  and  whenever  chance 
throws  a  dead  fish  on  the  shore,  the  Great  Owl  feeds  with  peculiar  avidity 
on  it. 

It  is  one  of  the  most  common  species  along  the  shores  of  the  Ohio  and 
Mississippi,  where  it  is  to  be  met  with  at  all  seasons,  being  fond  of  roosting 
amongst  the  thick-growing  young  cotton-wood  trees  and  willows,  that  cover 
the  muddy  sand-bars  of  these  noble  streams,  as  well  as  in  the  more  retired 
woody  swamps,  where  the  gloomy  cypress  spreads  its  broad  arms,  covered 
with  dangling  masses  of  Spanish  beard,  which  give  way  to  the  gentlest 
breeze.  In  both  such  situations  I  have  frequently  met  with  this  Owl:  its 
body  erect,  its  plumage  closed,  its  tufted  head-feathers  partially  lowered,  and 
its  head  half  turned  and  resting  on  orte  shoulder. 

When  the  sun  shines  brightly,  the  bird  is  easily  approached;  but  if  the 
weather  be  cloudy,  it  rises  on  its  feet,  at  the  least  noise,  erects  the  tufts  of 
its  head,  gives  a  knowing  kind  of  nod,  flies  off  in  an  instant,  and  generally 
proceeds  to  such  a  distance  that  it  is  difficult  to  find  it  again.  When  disturbed 
while  at  roost  on  willows  near  a  river,  it  sails  off  low  over  the  stream,  as  if 
aware  that  by  so  doing  it  renders  its  pursuit  more  difficult.  I  once  nearly 
lost  my  life  by  going  towards  one  that  I  had  shot  on  a  willow-bar,  for,  while 
running  up  to  the  spot,  I  suddenly  found  myself  sunk  in  quicksand  up  to 
my  arm-pits,  and  in  this  condition  must  have  remained  to  perish,  had  not 
my  boatmen  come  up  and  extricated  me,  by  forming  a  bridge  of  their  oars 
and  some  driftwood,  during  which  operation  I  had  to  remain  perfectly  quiet, 
as  any  struggle  would  soon  have  caused  me  to  sink  overhead. 

Early  in  February  the  Great  Horned  Owls  are  seen  to  pair.  The  curious 
evolutions  of  the  male  in  the  air,  or  his  motions  when  he  has  alighted  near 
his  beloved,  it  is  impossible  to  describe.  His  bowings,  and  the  snappings  of 
his  bill,  are  extremely  ludicrous;  and  no  sooner  is  the  female  assured  that 
the  attentions  paid  her  by  the  beau  are  the  result  of  a  sincere  affection,  than 
she  joins  in  the  motions  of  her  future  mate. 

The  nest,  which  is  very  bulky,  is  usually  fixed  on  a  large  horizontal 
branch,  not  far  from  the  trunk  of  the  tree.  It  is  composed  externally  of 
crooked  sticks,  and  is  lined  with  coarse  grasses  and  some  feathers.  The 
whole  measures  nearly  three  feet  in  diameter.  The  eggs,  which  are  from 
three  to  six,  are  almost  globular  in  form,  and  of  a  dull  white  colour.  The 
male  assists  the  female  in  sitting  on  the  eggs.  Only  one  brood  is  raised  in 
the  season.  The  young  remain  in  the  nest  until  fully  fledged,  and  afterwards 
follow  the  parents  for  a  considerable   time,  uttering  a  mournful  sound,  to 

Vol.  I.  22 


146  THE  GREAT  HORNED  OWL. 

induce  them  to  supply  them  with  food.  They  acquire  the  full  plumage  of 
the  old  birds  in  the  first  spring,  and  until  then  are  considerably  lighter,  with 
more  dull  buff  in  their  tints.  I  have  found  nests  belonging  to  this  species  in 
large  hollows  of  decayed  trees,  and  twice  in  the  fissures  of  rocks.  In  all 
these  cases,  little  preparation  had  been  made  previous  to  the  laying  of  the 
eggs,  as  I  found  only  a  few  grasses  and  feathers  placed  under  them. 

The  Great  Horned  Owl  lives  retired,  and  it  is  seldom  that  more  than  one 
is  found  in  the  neighbourhood  of  a  farm,  after  the  breeding  season;  but  as 
almost  every  detached  farm  is  visited  by  one  of  these  dangerous  and  power- 
ful marauders,  it  may  be  said  to  be  abundant.  The  havoc  which  it  commits 
is  very  great.  I  have  known  a  plantation  almost  stripped  of  the  whole  of 
the  poultry  raised  upon  it  during  spring,  by  one  of  these  daring  foes  of  the 
feathered  race,  in  the  course  of  the  ensuing  winter. 

This  species  is  very  powerful,  and  equally  spirited.  It  attacks  Wild  Tur- 
keys when  half-grown,  and  often  masters  them.  Mallards,  Guinea-fowls, 
and  common  barn  fowls,  prove  an  easy  prey,  and  on  seizing  them  it  carries 
them  off  in  its  talons  from  the  farm-yards  to  the  interior  of  the  woods. 
When  wounded,  it  exhibits  a  revengeful  tenacity  of  spirit,  scarcely  surpassed 
by  any  of  the  noblest  of  the  Eagle  tribe,  disdaining  to  scramble  away  like 
the  Barred  Owl,  but  facing  its  enemy  with  undaunted  courage,  protruding 
its  powerful  talons,  and  snapping  its  bill,  as  long  as  he  continues  in  its  pre- 
sence. On  these  occasions,  its  large  goggle  eyes  are  seen  to  open  and  close 
in  quick  succession,  and  the  feathers  of  its  body,  being  raised,  swell  out  its 
apparent  bulk  to  nearly  double  the  natural  size. 

Great  Horned-Owl,  Strix  Virginiana,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  vi.  p.  52. 

Strix  Virginiania,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  37. 

Great  Horned-Owl  or  Cat  Owl,  Strix  Virginiania,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  124. 

Great  Horned-Owl,  Strix  Virgimana,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  313;  vol.  v.  p.  393. 

Upper  part  of  the  head  brownish-black,  mottled  with  light  brown,  the 
tufts  of  the  same  colour,  margined  with  brown;  face  brownish-red,  with  a 
circle  of  blackish-brown;  upper  parts  undulatingly  banded  and  minutely 
mottled  with  brownish-black  and  yellowish-red,  behind  tinged  with  grej'; 
wings  and  tail  light  brownish-yellow,  barred  and  mottled  with  blackish- 
brown  and  light  brownish-red;  chin  white;  upper  part  of  throat  light  reddish, 
spotted  with  black,  a  band  of  white  across  the  middle  of  fore  neck;  its  lower 
part  and  the  breast  light  yellowish-red,  barred  with  deep  brown,  as  are  the 
lower  parts  generally;  several  longitudinal  brownish-black  patches  on  the 
lower  fore  neck;  tarsal  feathers  light  yellowish-red,  obscurely  barred. 

Male,  23.  56.      Female,  25,  60. 


N°8. 


P140 


< 


■ 


THE  LITTLE  SCREECH  OWL.  149 

generally  crooked,  and  the  wood  is  not  considered  of  great  utility.  It  grows 
in  large  groves  in  the  state  from  which  it  has  derived  its  name,  and  is  now 
mostly  used  for  fuel  on  board  our  steam-vessels.  The  Mottled  Owl  is  often 
observed  perched  on  its  branches. 

Mottled  Owl,  Strix  nasvia,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  iii.  p.  16.    Adult. 

Red  Owl,  Strix  Asio,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  v.  p.  83.     Young. 

Mottled  and  Red  Owl,  Strix  Asio,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  120. 

Little  Screech  Owl,  Strix  Asio,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  486;  vol.  v.  p.  392. 

Adult  with  the  upper  parts  pale  brown,  spotted  and  dotted  with  brownish- 
black;  a  pale  grey  line  from  the  base  of  the  upper  mandible  over  each  eye; 
quills  light  brownish-grey,  barred  with  brownish-black,  their  coverts  dark 
brown,  secondary  coverts  with  the  tip  white;  throat  yellowish-grey,  lower 
parts  light  grey,  patched  and  sprinkled  with  brownish-black;  tail-feathers 
tinged  with  red.  Young  with  the  upper  parts  light  brownish-red,  each 
feather  with  a  central  blackish-brown  line;  tail  and  quills  barred  with  dull 
brown;  a  line  over  the  eye,  and  the  tips  of  the  secondary  coverts  reddish- 
white;  breast  and  sides  light  yellowish-grey,  spotted  and  lined  with  brownish- 
black  and  bright  reddish-brown,  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts  yellowish-grey, 
the  tarsal  feathers  pale  yellowish-red. 

Male,  10,  22.     Female,  10,  23. 


Vol.  I.  23 


150 


FAMILY  IV.     CAPRIMULGIN^E.     GOATSUCKERS. 

Mouth  opening  to  beneath  the  centre  of  the  eyes;  bill  much  depressed, 
generally  feeble,  the  horny  part  being  small;  upper  mandible  with  the  tip 
somewhat  decurved.  Nostrils  elliptical,  prominent,  marginate.  Eyes  ex- 
tremely large.  Aperture  of  ear  elliptical,  very  large.  Head  of  extreme 
breadth,  depressed;  body  very  slender.  Feet  very  small;  tarsus  partially 
feathered,  scaly;  anterior  toes  webbed  at  the  base;  hind  toe  small,  and  versa- 
tile, all  scutellate  above;  claw  of  third  toe  generally  elongated,  with  the  inner 
margin  thin  and  pectinate.  Plumage  very  soft  and  blended.  Wings  very 
long,  the  second  and  third  quills  longest.  Tail  long,  of  ten  feathers.  (Eso- 
phagus rather  wide,  without  crop;  stomach  very  large,  roundish,  its  muscular 
coat  very  thin,  and  composed  of  a  single  series  of  strong  fasciculi;  epithelium 
very  hard,  with  longitudinal  rugae;  intestine  short  and  wide;  coeca  large, 
oblong,  narrow  at  the  base;  cloaca  globular.  Trachea  of  nearly  uniform 
width,  without  inferior  laryngeal  muscles.  Nest  on  the  ground,  or  in  hollow 
trees.  Eggs  generally  two.  Young  covered  with  down.  Very  nearly  allied 
in  some  respects  to  the  Owls. 


Genus  I.— CAPRIMULGUS,  Linn.     GOATSUCKER. 

Bill  feeble,  gape  extending  to  beneath  the  posterior  angle  of  the  eye. 
Nostrils  elliptical,  prominent.  Wings  long,  pointed,  the  second  quill  longest; 
tail  long.  Claw  of  middle  toe  pectinate.  Along  the  base  of  the  bill  on  each 
side  a  series  of  feathers  having  very  strong  shafts,  terminating  in  an  elastic 
filamentous  point,  and  with  the  barbs  or  lateral  filaments  extremely  slender, 
distant,  and  not  extended  beyond  the  middle  of  the  shaft.  Plumage  very 
soft  and  blended.  Wings  long  and  pointed,  the  second  quill  longest;  tail 
long,  rounded. 


151 


CHUCK -WILL'S-WIDOW. 

-f  Caproitjlgus  CAEOLiNENsrs,  Gmel. 

PLATE  XLI.— Male  and  Female. 

Our  Goatsuckers,  although  possessed  of  great  power  of  wing,  are  particu- 
larly attached  to  certain  districts  and  localities.  The  species  now  under 
consideration  is  seldom  observed  beyond  the  limits  of  the  Choctaw  Nation 
in  the  State  of  Mississippi,  or  the  Carolinas,  on  the  shores  of  the  Atlantic, 
and  may  with  propriety  be  looked  upon  as  the  southern  species  of  the  United 
States.  Louisiana,  Florida,  the  lower  portions  of  Alabama  and  Georgia,  are 
the  parts  in  which  it  most  abounds;  and  there  it  makes  its  appearance  early 
in  spring,  coming  over  from  Mexico,  and  probably  still  warmer  climates. 

About  the  middle  of  March,  the  forests  of  Louisiana  are  heard  to  echo 
with  the  well-known  notes  of  this  interesting  bird.  No  sooner  has  the  sun 
disappeared,  and  the  nocturnal  insects  emerged  from  their  burrows,  than  the 
sounds,  "chuck-ivill,s-ividoio,,>  repeated  with  great  clearness  and  power  six 
or  seven  times  in  as  many  seconds,  strike  the  ear,  bringing  to  the  mind  a 
pleasure  mingled  with  a  certain  degree  of  melancholy,  which  I  have  often 
found  very  soothing.  The  sounds  of  the  Goatsucker,  at  all  events,  forebode 
a  peaceful  and  calm  night,  and  I  have  more  than  once  thought,  are  conducive 
to  lull  the  listener  to  repose. 

The  deep  ravines,  shady  swamps,  and  extensive  pine  ridges,  are  all  equally 
resorted  to  by  these  birds;  for  in  all  such  places  they  find  ample  means  of 
providing  for  their  safety  during  the  day,  and  of  procuring  food  under  night. 
Their  notes  are  seldom  heard  in  cloudy  weather,  and  never  when  it  rains. 
Their  roosting  places  are  principally  the  hollows  of  decayed  trees,  whether 
standing  or  prostrate,  which  they  seldom  leave  during  the  day,  excepting 
while  incubation  is  in  progress.  In  these  hollows  I  have  found  them,  lodged 
in  the  company  of  several  species  of  bats,  the  birds  asleep  on  the  mouldering 
particles  of  the  wood,  the  bats  clinging  to  the  sides  of  the  cavities.  When 
surprised  in  such  situations,  instead  of  trying  to  effect  their  escape  by  flying 
out,  they  retire  backwards  to  the  farthest  corners,  ruffle  all  the  feathers  of 
their  body,  open  their  mouth  to  its  full  extent,  and  utter  a  hissing  kind  of 
murmur,  not  unlike  that  of  some  snakes.  When  seized  and  brought  to  the 
light  of  day,  they  open  and  close  their  eyes  in  rapid  succession,  as  if  it  were 
painful  for  them  to  encounter  so  bright  a  light.  They  snap  their  little  bill 
in  the  manner  of  Fly-catchers,  and  shuffle  along  as  if  extremely  desirous  of 


152  CHUCK- WILL'S-WIDOW. 

making  their  escape.  On  giving  them  liberty  to  fly,  I  have  found  them  able 
to  proceed  until  out  of  my  sight.  They  passed  between  the  trees  with  appa- 
rently as  much  ease  and  dexterity  as  if  it  had  been  twilight.  I  once  cut  two 
of  the  quill-feathers  of  a  wing  of  one  of  these  birds,  and  allowed  it  to  escape. 
A  few  days  afterwards  I  found  it  in  the  same  log,  which  induces  me  to 
believe  that  they,  like  many  other  birds,  resort  to  the  same  spot,  to  roost  or 
spend  the  day. 

The  flight  of  the  Chuck-wilPs-widow  is  as  light  as  that  of  its  relative,  the 
well-known  PVhip-poor-ivill,  if  not  more  so,  and  is  more  graceful  as  well  as 
more  elevated.  It  somewhat  resembles  the  flight  of  the  Hen-harrier,  being 
performed  by  easy  flappings  of  the  wings,  interspersed  with  sailings  and 
curving  sweeps,  extremely  pleasing  to  the  bystander.  At  the  approach  of 
night,  this  bird  begins  to  sing  clearly  and  loudly,  and  continues  its  notes  for 
about  a  quarter  of  an  hour.  At  this  time  it  is  perched  on  a  fence-stake,  or 
on  the  decayed  branch  of  a  tree  in  the  interior  of  the  woods,  seldom  on  the 
ground.  The  sounds  or  notes  which  it  emits  seem  to  cause  it  some  trouble, 
as  it  raises  and  lowers  its  head  in  quick  succession  at  each  of  them.  This 
over,  the  bird  launches  into  the  air,  and  is  seen  sweeping  over  the  cotton 
fields  or  the  sugar  plantations,  cutting  all  sorts  of  figures,  mounting,  descend- 
ing, or  sailing,  with  so  much  ease  and  grace,  that  one  might  be  induced  to 
call  it  the  Fairy  of  the  night.  If  it  passes  close  to  one,  a  murmuring  noise 
is  heard,  at  times  resembling  that  spoken  of  when  the  bird  is  caught  by  day. 
It  suddenly  checks  its  course,  inclines  to  the  right  or  left,  secures  a  beetle  or 
a  moth,  continues  its  flight  over  the  field,  passes  and  repasses  hundreds  of 
times  over  the  same  ground,  and  now  and  then  alights  on  a  fence-stake,  or 
the  tallest  plant  in  the  place,  from  which  it  emits  its  notes  for  a  few  moments 
with  increased  vivacity.  Now,  it  is  seen  following  a  road  or  a  path  on  the 
wing,  and  alighting  here  and  there  to  pick  up  the  beetle  emerging  from  its 
retreat  in  the  ground;  again,  it  rises  high  in  air,  and  gives  chase  to  the  insects 
that  are  flying  there,  perhaps  on  their  passage  from  one  wood  to  another. 
At  other  times,  I  have  seen  it  poise  itself  on  its  wings  opposite  the  trunk  of 
a  tree,  and  seize  with  its  bill  the  insects  crawling  on  the  bark,  in  this  manner 
inspecting  the  whole  tr.ee,  with  motions  as  light  as  those  by  which  the 
Humming-Bird  flutters  from  one  flower  to  another.  In  this  manner  the 
Chuck-will's-widow  spends  the  greater  part  of  the  night. 

The  greatest  harmony  appears  to  subsist  between  the  birds  of  this  species, 
for  dozens  may  be  observed  flying  together  over  a  field,  and  chasing  insects 
in  all  directions,  without  manifesting  any  enmity  or  envy.  A  few  days 
after  the  arrival  of  the  male  birds,  the  females  make  their  appearance,  and 
the  love  season  at  once  commences.  The  male  pays  his  addresses  to  the 
female  with  a  degree  of  pomposity  only  equalled  by  the  Tame  Pigeon.    The 


N°9. 


P14il. 


<&&*£**£  &@m 


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WHIP-POOR-WILL.  155 

ing  along  the  head;  a  yellowish-white  line  over  the  eye;  wings  barred  with 
yellowish-red  and  brownish-black,  and  minutely  sprinkled  with  the  latter 
colour,  as  are  the  wing-coverts,  which,  together  with  the  scapulars,  are  largely 
spotted  with  black,  and  tinged  with  grey;  tail  similarly  barred  and  dotted; 
terminal  half  of  the  inner  webs  of  the  three  outer  feathers  white,  their  extre- 
mities light  red;  lower  parts  dull  reddish-yellow,  sprinkled  with  dusky;  a 
band  of  whitish  feathers  barred  with  black  on  the  fore  neck.  Female  like 
the  male,  but  without  white  on  the  tail. 
Male,  12f,  26.     Female,  13_^,  30. 


WHIP-POOR-WILL. 

"■/"Caprimulgus  vocifertjs,  Wils. 
PLATE  XLIL— Male  and  Female. 

This  bird  makes  its  appearance  in  most  parts  of  our  Western  and  Southern 
Districts,  at  the  approach  of  spring,  but  is  never  heard,  and  indeed  scarcely 
ever  occurs,  in  the  State  of  Louisiana.  The  more  barren  and  mountainous 
parts  of  the  Union  seem  to  suit  it  best.  Accordingly,  the  open  Barrens  of 
Kentucky,  and  the  country  through  which  the  Alleghany  ridges  pass,  are 
more  abundantly  supplied  with  it  than  any  other  regions.  Yet,  wherever  a 
small  tract  of  country,  thinly  covered  with  timber,  occurs  in  the  Middle 
Districts,  there  the  Whip-poor-will  is  heard  during  the  spring  and  early 
autumn. 

This  species  of  Night-jar,  like  its  relative  the  Chuck-will's-widow,  is 
seldom  seen  during  the  day,  unless  when  accidentally  discovered  in  a  state 
of  repose,  when,  if  startled,  it  rises  and  flies  off,  but  only  to  such  a  distance 
as  it  considers  necessary,  in  order  to  secure  it  from  the  farther  intrusion  of 
the  disturber  of  its  noon-day  slumbers.  Its  flight  is  very  low,  light,  swift, 
noiseless,  and  protracted,  as  the  bird  moves  over  the  places  which  it  inhabits, 
in  pursuit  of  the  moths,  beetles  and  other  insects,  of  which  its  food  is  com- 
posed. During  the  day,  it  sleeps  on  the  ground,  the  lowest  branches  of 
small  trees  and  bushes,  or  the  fallen  trunks  of  trees  so  abundantly  dispersed 
through  the  woods.  In  such  situations,  you  may  approach  within  a  few  feet 
of  it;  and,  should  you  observe  it  whilst  asleep,  and  not  make  any  noise 
sufficient  to  alarm  it,  will  suffer  you  to  pass  quite  near  without  taking  flight, 
as  it  seems  to  sleep  with  great  soundness,  especially  about  the  middle  of  the 


156  WHIP-POOR-WILL. 

day.  In  rainy  or  very  cloudy  weather,  it  sleeps  less,  and  is  more  on  the 
alert.  Its  eyes  are  then  kept  open  for  hours  at  a  time,  and  it  flies  off  as  soon 
as  it  discovers  an  enemy  approaching,  which  it  can  do,  at  such  times,  at  a 
distance  of  twenty  or  thirty  yards.  It  always  appears  with  its  body  parallel 
to  the  direction  of  the  branch  or  trunk  on  which  it  sits,  and,  I  believe,  never 
alights  across  a  branch  or  a  fence-rail. 

No  sooner  has  the  sun  disappeared  beneath  the  horizon,  than  this  bird 
bestirs  itself,  and  sets  out  in  pursuit  of  insects.  It  passes  low  over  the  bushes, 
moves  to  the  right  or  left,  alights  on  the  ground  to  secure  its  prey,  passes 
repeatedly  and  in  different  directions  over  the  same  field,  skims  along  the 
skirts  of  the  woods,  and  settles  occasionally  on  the  tops  of  the  fence-stakes 
or  on  stumps  of  trees,  from  whence  it  sallies,  like  a  Fly-catcher,  after  insects, 
and,  on  seizing  them,  returns  to  the  same  spot.  When  thus  situated,  it 
frequently  alights  on  the  ground,  to  pick  up  a  beetle.  Like  the  Chuck- 
will's-widow,  it  also  balances  itself  in  the  air,  in  front  of  the  trunks  of  trees, 
or  against  the  sides  of  banks,  to  discover  ants,  and  other  small  insects  that 
may  be  lurking  there.  Its  flight  is  so  light  and  noiseless,  that  whilst  it  is 
passing  within  a  few  feet  of  a  person,  the  motion  of  its  wings  is  not  heard 
by  him,  and  merely  produces  a  gentle  undulation  in  the  air.  During  all  this 
time,  it  utters  a  low  murmuring  sound,  by  which  alone  it  can  be  discovered 
in  the  dark,  when  passing  within  a  few  yards  of  one,  and  which  I  have  often 
heard  when  walking  or  riding  throuo;h  the  barrens  at  night. 

Immediately  after  the  arrival  of  these  birds,  their  notes  are  heard  in  the 
dusk  and  through  the  evening,  in  every  part  of  the  thickets,  and  along  the 
skirts  of  the  woods.  They  are  clear  and  loud,  and  to  me  are  more  interesting 
than  those  of  the  Nightingale.  This  taste  I  have  probably  acquired,  by 
listening  to  the  Whip-poor-will  in  parts  where  Nature  exhibited  all  her  lone 
grandeur,  and  where  no  discordant  din  interrupted  the  repose  of  all  around. 
Only  think,  kind  reader,  how  grateful  to  me  must  have  been  the  cheering 
voice  of  this  my  only  companion,  when,  fatigued  and  hungry,  after  a  day  of 
unremitted  toil,  I  have  planted  my  camp  in  the  wilderness,  as  the  darkness 
of  night  put  a  stop  to  my  labours!  I  have  often  listened  to  the  Nightingale, 
but  never  under  such  circumstances,  and  therefore  its  sweetest  notes  have 
never  awakened  the  same  feeling;. 

The  Whip-poor-will  continues  its  lively  song  for  several  hours  after  sunset, 
and  then  remains  silent  until  the  first  dawn  of  day,  when  its  notes  echo 
through  every  vale,  and  along  the  declivities  of  the  mountains,  until  the 
beams  of  the  rising  sun  scatter  the  darkness  that  overhung  the  face  of  nature. 
Hundreds  are  often  heard  at  the  same  time  in  different  parts  of  the  woods, 
each  trying  to  out-do  the  others;  and  when  you  are  told  that  the  notes  of 
this  bird  may  be  heard  at  the  distance  of  several  hundred  yards,  you  may 


\   9 


P1.43 


.^^JcCa/'^^Lu^^w/^l^M-^j  /ifu^MMy 


.. 


Dffriboi    F.KS,F.L.  S 


l4flh*  Printed  &  Col*  by  I.T  Boweti.Thilad* 


X"  V 


PI  .43 


159 


THE    NIGHT-HAWK. 

Chordeiles  virginianus,  Briss. 

PLATE  XLIIL— Male  and  Female. 

The  name  of  this  bird  disagrees  with  the  most  marked  characteristics  of 
its  habits,  for  it  may  be  seen,  and  has  frequently  been  seen,  on  the  wing, 
during  the  greater  part  of  the  day,  even  when  the  atmosphere  is  perfectly 
pure  and  clear,  and  while  the  sun  is  shining  in  all  its  glory.  It  is  equally 
known  that  the  Night-Hawk  retires  to  rest  shortly  after  dusk,  at  the  very 
time  when  the  loud  notes  of  the  Whip-poor-will,  or  those  of  the  Chuck- 
will's-widow,  both  of  which  are  nocturnal  ramblers,  are  heard  echoing  from 
the  places  to  which  these  birds  resort. 

About  the  1st  of  April,  the  Night-Hawk  makes  its  appearance  in  the  lower 
parts  of  Louisiana,  on  its  way  eastward.  None  of  them  breed  in  that  State, 
or  in  that  of  Mississippi,  nor  am  I  inclined  to  believe  any  where  south  of 
the  neighbourhood  of  Charleston,  in  South  Carolina.  The  species  is,  how- 
ever, seen  in  all  the  Southern  States,  on  its  passage  to  and  from  those  of  the 
east.  The  Night-Hawks  pass  with  so  much  comparative  swiftness  over 
Louisiana  in  the  spring,  that  in  a  few  days  after  their  first  appearance  none 
are  to  be  seen;  nor  are  any  to  be  found  there  until  their  return  in  autumn, 
when,  on  account  of  the  ample  supply  of  food  they  still  meet  with  at  this 
late  season,  they  remain  several  weeks,  gleaning  the  insects  off  the  cotton 
fields,  waste  lands,  or  sugar  plantations,  and  gambolling  over  the  prairies, 
lakes  or  rivers,  from  morning  till  night.  Their  return  from  the  Middle 
Districts  varies  according  to  the  temperature  of  the  season,  from  the  15th  of 
August  to  late  in  October. 

Their  migrations  are  carried  on  over  so  great  an  extent,  and  that  so  loosely, 
that  you  might  conceive  it  their  desire  to  glean  the  whole  country,  as  they 
advance  with  a  front  extending  from  the  mouths  of  the  Mississippi  to  the 
Rocky  Mountains,  passing  in  this  manner  from  the  south  far  beyond  our 
eastern  boundary  lines.  Thus  they  are  enabled  to  disperse  and  breed  through- 
out the  whole  Western  and  Eastern  States,  from  South  Carolina  to  Maine. 
On  their  way  they  may  be  seen  passing  over  our  cities  and  villages,  alighting 
on  the  trees  that  embellish  our  streets,  and  even  on  chimney  tops,  from  which 
they  are  heard  to  squeak  their  sharp  notes,  to  the  amusement  or  surprise  of 
those  who  observe  them. 

I  have  seen  this  species  in  the  British  Provinces  of  New  Brunswick  and 


160  THE  NIGHT-HAWK. 

Nova  Scotia,  where  they  remain  so  late  as  the  beginning  of  October,  but  I 
observed  none  in  Newfoundland,  or  on  the  shores  of  Labrador.  In  going 
north,  their  appearance  in  the  Middle  States  is  about  the  first  of  May;  but 
they  seldom  reach  Maine  before  June. 

The  Night-Hawk  has  a  firm,  light,  and  greatly  prolonged  flight.  In  dull 
cloudy  weather,  it  may  be  seen  on  the  wing  during  the  whole  day,  and  is 
more  clamorous  than  at  any  other  time.  The  motions  of  its  wings  while 
flying  are  peculiarly  graceful,  and  the  playfulness  which  it  evinces  renders 
its  flight  quite  interesting.  The  bird  appears  to  glide  through  the  air  with 
all  imaginable  ease,  assisting  its  ascent,  or  supporting  itself  on  high,  by  irre- 
gular hurried  flappings  performed  at  intervals,  as  if  it  had  unexpectedly  fallen 
in  with  its  prey,  pursued,  and  seized  it.  Its  onward  motion  is  then  continued. 
It  moves  in  this  manner,  either  upwards  in  circles,  emitting  a  loud  sharp 
squeak  at  the  beginning  of  each  sudden  start  it  takes,  or  straight  downwards, 
then  to  the  right  or  left,  whether  high  or  low,  as  it  presses  onward,  now 
skimming  closely  over  the  rivers,  lakes,  or  shores  of  the  Atlantic,  and  again 
wending  its  way  over  the  forests  or  mountain  tops.  During  the  love  season 
its  mode  of  flight  is  particularly  interesting:  the  male  may  be  said  to  court 
his  mate  entirely  on  the  wing,  strutting  as  it  were  through  the  air,  and  per- 
forming a  variety  of  evolutions  with  the  greatest  ease  and  elegance,  insomuch 
that  no  bird  with  which  I  am  acquainted  can  rival  it  in  this  respect. 

It  frequently  raises  itself  a  hundred  yards,  sometimes  much  more,  and 
apparently  in  the  same  careless  manner  already  mentioned,  its  squeaking 
notes  becoming  louder  and  more  frequent  the  higher  it  ascends;  when, 
checking  its  course,  it  at  once  glides  obliquely  downwards,  with  wings  and 
tail  half  closed,  and  with  such  rapidity  that  a  person  might  easily  conceive  it 
to  be  about  to  dash  itself  against  the  ground.  But  when  close  to  the  earth, 
often  at  no  greater  distance  than  a  few  feet,  it  instantaneously  stretches  out 
its  wings,  so  as  to  be  nearly  directed  downwards  at  right  angles  with  the 
body,  expands  its  tail,  and  thus  suddenly  checks  its  downward  career.  It 
then  brushes,  as  it  were,  through  the  air,  with  inconceivable  force,  in  a  semi- 
circular line  of  a  few  yards  in  extent.  This  is  the  moment  when  the  singular 
noise  produced  by  this  bird  is  heard,  for  the  next  instant  it  rises  in  an  almost 
perpendicular  course,  and  soon  begins  anew  this  curious  mode  of  courtship. 
The  concussion  caused,  at  the  time  the  bird  passes  the  centre  of  its  plunge, 
by  the  new  position  of  its  wings,  which  are  now  brought  almost  instantly  to 
the  wind,  like  the  sails  of  a  ship  suddenly  thrown  aback,  is  the  cause  of  this 
singular  noise.  The  female  does  not  produce  this,  although  she  frequently 
squeaks  whilst  on  the  wing. 

Sometimes,  when  several  males  are  paying  their  addresses  to  the  same 
female,  the  sight  of  those  beaux  plunging  through  the  air  in  different  direc- 


THE  NIGHT-HAWK.  163 

whole  breadth  of  the  next  four  quills;  tail-feathers  barred  with  brownish- 
grey,  the  four  outer  on  each  side  plain  brownish-black  towards  the  end,  with 
a  large  white  spot;  sides  of  the  head  and  fore  neck  mottled  like  the  back;  a 
broad  white  band,  in  the  form  of  the  letter  V  reversed,  on  the  throat  and 
sides  of  the  neck;  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts  greyish-white,  transversely 
undulated  with  dark  brown.  Female  similar,  with  the  dark  parts  more 
brown,  the  white  more  tinged  with  red,  the  band  on  the  throat  brownish- 
white,  and  the  white  spots  on  the  tail-feathers  wanting. 
Male,  H,  231      Female,  9f,  23§. 


FAMILY  V.     CYPSELINiE.     SWIFTS. 

Mouth  opening  to  beneath  the  hind  part  of  the  eyes;  bill  extremely  short, 
very  broad  at  the  base,  compressed  at  the  end;  upper  mandible  decurved  at 
the  point,  the  edge  inflected,  with  an  indistinct  sinus.  Nostrils  basal,  approxi- 
mate, oblong.  Head  large  and  depressed;  neck  short;  body  rather  slender. 
Feet  extremely  short;  tarsus  rounded,  destitute  of  scutella;  toes  extremely 
short,  the  three  anterior  nearly  equal;  hind  toe  very  small,  and  versatile; 
claws  strong,  compressed,  arched,  very  acute.  Plumage  compact;  no  bristles 
at  the  base  of  the  upper  mandible;  wings  extremely  elongated,  falciform,  the 
first  quill  longest;  tail  of  ten  feathers.  (Esophagus  of  moderate  width,  with- 
out crop;  stomach  oblong,  moderately  muscular,  with  a  dense  rugous  epithe- 
lium; intestine  short,  and  rather  wide;  no  coeca.  No  inferior  laryngeal 
muscles.  Nest  in  crevices  or  holes,  or  attached  to  high  places.  Eggs  elon- 
gated, white. 

Genus  L— CILETURA,  Stephens.     SPINE-TAIL. 

All  the  characters  as  above.  Tarsus  bare,  longer  than  the  middle  toe, 
which  scarcely  exceeds  the  outer.  Tail  short,  even,  the  shafts  very  strong, 
and  prolonged  into  acuminate  points. 


164 


THE  CHIMNEY  SWALLOW,  OR  AMERICAN  SWIFT. 

"f  Ch^tura  pelasgia,  Temm. 

PLATE  XLIV.— Male,  Female,  and  Nest. 

Since  the  progress  of  civilization  in  our  country  has  furnished  thousands 
of  convenient  places  for  this  Swallow  to  breed  in,  safe  from  storms,  snakes, 
or  quadrupeds,  it  has  abandoned,  with  a  judgment  worthy  of  remark,  its 
former  abodes  in  the  hollows  of  trees,  and  taken  possession  of  the  chimneys 
which  emit  no  smoke  in  the  summer  season.  For  this  reason,  no  doubt,  it 
has  obtained  the  name  by  which  it  is  generally  known.  I  well  remember 
the  time  when,  in  Lower  Kentucky,  Indiana,  and  Illinois,  many  resorted  to 
excavated  branches  and  trunks,  for  the  purpose  of  breeding;  nay,  so  strong 
is  the  influence  of  original  habit,  that  not  a  few  still  betake  themselves  to 
such  places,  not  only  to  roost,  but  also  to  breed,  especially  in  those  wild 
portions  of  our  country  that  can  scarcely  be  said  to  be  inhabited.  In  such 
instances,  they  appear  to  be  as  nice  in  the  choice  of  a  tree,  as  they  generally 
are  in  our  cities  in  the  choice  of  a  chimney,  wherein  to  roost.  Sycamores  of 
gigantic  growth,  and  having  a  mere  shell  of  bark  and  wood  to  support  them, 
seem  to  suit  them  best,  and  wdierever  I  have  met  with  one  of  those  patriarchs 
of  the  forest  rendered  habitable  by  decay,  there  I  have  found  the  Swallows 
breeding  in  spring  and  summer,  and  afterwards  roosting  until  the  time  of 
their  departure.  I  had  a  tree  of  this  kind  cut  down,  which  contained  about 
thirty  of  their  nests  in  its  trunk,  and  one  in  each  of  the  hollow  branches. 

The  nest,  whether  placed  in  a  tree  or  chimney,  consists  of  small  dry  twigs, 
which  are  procured  by  the  birds  in  a  singular  manner.  While  on  wing,  the 
Chimney  Swallows  are  seen  in  great  numbers  whirling  round  the  tops  of 
some  decayed  or  dead  tree,  as  if  in  pursuit  of  their  insect  prey.  Their 
movements  at  this  time  are  extremely  rapid;  they  throw  their  body  suddenly 
against  the  twig,  grapple  it  with  their  feet,  and  by  an  instantaneous  jerk, 
snap  it  off  short,  and  proceed  with  it  to  the  place  intended  for  the  nest.  The 
Frigate  Pelican  sometimes  employs  the  same  method  for  a  similar  purpose, 
carrying  away  the  stick  in  its  bill,  in  place  of  holding  it  with  its  feet. 

The  Swallow  fixes  the  first  sticks  on  the  wood,  the  rock,  or  the  chimney 
wall,  by  means  of  its  saliva,  arranging  them  in  a  semicircular  form,  crossing 
and  interweaving  them,  so  as  to  extend  the  framework  outwards.  The 
whole  is  afterwards  glued  together  with  saliva,  which  is  spread  around  it  for 
an  inch  or  more,  to  fasten  it  securely.     When  the  nest  is  in  a  chimney,  it  is 


A 


N?9. 


PI.  44. 


Om^r-fsCd'/n/  C^/v- 


9 


'AVJa- 


THE  CHIMNEY  SWALLOW,  OR  AMERICAN  SWIFT.  165 

generally  placed  on  the  east  side,  and  is  from  five  to  eight  feet  from  the 
entrance;  but  in  the  hollow  of  a  tree,  where  only  they  breed  in  communities, 
it  is  placed  high  or  low  according  to  convenience.  The  fabric,  which  is  very 
frail,  now  and  then  gives  way,  either  under  the  pressure  of  the  parents  and 
young,  or  during  sudden  bursts  of  heavy  rain,  when  the  whole  is  dashed  to 
the  ground.  The  eggs  are  from  four  to  six,  and  of  a  pure  white  colour. 
Two  broods  are  raised  in  the  season. 

The  flight  of  this  species  is  performed  somewhat  in  the  manner  of  the 
European  Swift,  but  in  a  more  hurried  although  continued  style,  and  gene- 
rally by  repeated  flappings,  unless  when  courtship  is  going  on,  on  which 
occasion  it  is  frequently  seen  sailing  with  its  wings  fixed  as  it  were;  both 
sexes  as  they  glide  through  the  air  issuing  a  shrill  rattling  twitter,  and  the 
female  receiving  the  caresses  of  the  male.  At  other  times  it  is  seen  ranging 
far  and  wide  at  a  considerable  elevation  over  the  forests  and  cities;  again,  in 
wet  weather,  it  flies  close  over  the  ground;  and  anon  it  skims  the  water,  to 
drink  and  bathe.  When  about  to  descend  into  a  hollow  tree  or  a  chimney, 
its  flight,  always  rapid,  is  suddenly  interrupted  as  if  by  magic,  for  down  it 
goes  in  an  instant,  whirling  in  a  peculiar  manner,  and  whirring  with  its 
wings,  so  as  to  produce  a  sound  in  the  chimney  like  the  rumbling  of  very 
distant  thunder.  They  never  alight  on  trees  or  on  the  ground.  If  one  is 
caught  and  placed  on  the  latter,  it  can  only  move  in  a  very  awkward  fashion. 
I  believe  that  the  old  birds  sometimes  fly  at  night,  and  have  reason  to  think 
that  the  young  are  fed  at  such  times,  as  I  have  heard  the  whirring  sound  of 
the  former,  and  the  acknowledging  cries  of  the  latter,  during  calm  and  clear 
nights. 

When  the  young  accidentally  fall,  which  sometimes  happens,  although  the 
nest  should  remain,  they  scramble  up  again,  by  means  of  their  sharp  claws, 
lifting  one  foot  after  another,  in  the  manner  of  young  Wood  Ducks,  and 
supporting  themselves  with  their  tail.  Some  days  before  the  young  are  able 
to  fly,  they  scramble  up  the  walls  to  near  the  mouth  of  the  chimney,  where 
they  are  fed.  Any  observer  may  discover  this,  as  he  sees  the  parents  passing 
close  over  them,  without  entering  the  funnel.  The  same  occurrence  takes 
place  when  they  are  bred  in  a  tree. 

In  the  cities,  these  birds  make  choice  of  a  particular  chimney  for  their 
roosting  place,  where,  early  in  spring,  before  they  have  begun  building,  both 
sexes  resort  in  multitudes,  from  an  hour  or  more  before  sunset,  until  long- 
after  dark.  Before  entering  the  aperture,  they  fly  round  and  over  it  many 
times,  but  finally  go  in  one  at  a  time,  until  hurried  by  the  lateness  of  the 
hour,  several  drop  in  together.  They  cling  to  the  wall  with  their  claws, 
supporting  themselves  also  by  their  sharp  tail,  until  the  dawn,  when,  with  a 
roaring  sound,  the  whole  pass  out  almost  at  once.     Whilst  at  St.  Francisville 


166  THE  CHIMNEY  SWALLOW,  OR  AMERICAN  SWIFT. 

in  Louisiana,  I  took  the  trouble  of  counting  how  many  entered  one  chimney- 
before  dark.  I  sat  at  a  window  not  far  from  the  spot,  and  reckoned  upwards 
of  a  thousand,  having  missed  a  considerable  number.  The  place  at  that  time 
contained  about  a  hundred  houses,  and  no  doubt  existed  in  my  mind  that  the 
greater  number  of  these  birds  were  on  their  way  southward,  and  had  merely 
stopped  there  for  the  night. 

Immediately  after  my  arrival  at  Louisville,  in  the  State  of  Kentucky,  I 
became  acquainted  with  the  late  hospitable  and  amiable  Major  William 
Croghan  and  his  family.  While  talking  one  day  about  birds,  he  asked  me 
if  I  had  seen  the  trees  in  which  the  Swallows  were  supposed  to  spend  the 
winter,  but  which  they  only  entered,  he  said,  for  the  purpose  of  roosting. 
Answering  in  the  affirmative,  I  was  informed  that  on  my  way  back  to  town, 
there  was  a  tree  remarkable  on  account  of  the  immense  numbers  that  resorted 
to  it,  and  the  place  in  which  it  stood  was  described  to  me.  I  found  it  to  be 
a  sycamore,  nearly  destitute  of  branches,  sixty  or  seventy  feet  high,  between 
seven  and  eight  feet  in  diameter  at  the  base,  and  about  five  for  the  distance 
of  forty  feet  up,  where  the  stump  of  a  broken  hollowed  branch,  about  two 
feet  in  diameter,  made  out  from  the  main  stem.  This  was  the  place  at  which 
the  Swallows  entered.  On  closely  examining  the  tree,  I  found  it  hard,  but 
hollow  to  near  the  roots.  It  was  now  about  four  o'clock  after  noon,  in  the 
month  of  July.  Swallows  were  flying  over  Jeffersonville,  Louisville,  and 
the  woods  around,  but  there  were  none  near  the  tree.  I  proceeded  home, 
and  shortly  after  returned  on  foot.  The  sun  was  going  down  behind  the 
Silver  Hills;  the  evening  was  beautiful;  thousands  of  Swallows  were  flying 
closely  above  me,  and  three  or  four  at  a  time  were  pitching  into  the  hole, 
like  bees  hurrying  into  their  hive.  I  remained,  my  head  leaning  on  the 
tree,  listening  to  the  roaring  noise  made  within  by  the  birds  as  they  settled 
and  arranged  themselves,  until  it  was  quite  dark,  when  I  left  the  place, 
although  I  was  convinced  that  many  more  had  to  enter.  I  did  not  pretend 
to  count  them,  for  the  number  was  too  great,  and  the  birds  rushed  to  the 
entrance  so  thick  as  to  baffle  the  attempt.  I  had  scarcely  returned  to  Louis- 
ville, when  a  violent  thunder-storm  passed  suddenly  over  the  town,  and  its 
appearance  made  me  think  that  the  hurry  of  the  Swallows  to  enter  the  tree 
was  caused  by  their  anxiety  to  avoid  it.  I  thought  of  the  Swallows  almost 
the  whole  night,  so  anxious  had  I  become  to  ascertain  their  number,  before 
the  time  of  their  departure  should  arrive. 

Next  morning  I  rose  early  enough  to  reach  the  place  long  before  the  least 
appearance  of  daylight,  and  placed  my  head  against  the  tree.  All  was  silent 
within.  I  remained  in  that  posture  probably  twenty  minutes,  when  sudden- 
ly I  thought  the  great  tree  was  giving  way,  and  coming  down  upon  me. 
Instinctively  I  sprung  from  it,  but  when  I  looked  up  to  it  again,  what  was 


THE  CHIMNEY  SWALLOW,  OR  AMERICAN  SWIFT.  1(J9 

General  William  Clark  assured  me  that  he  saw  this  species  on  the  whole 
of  his  route  to  the  Pacific,  and  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  in  those  wilds  it 
still  breeds  in  trees  or  rocky  caverns. 

Its  food  consists  entirely  of  insects,  the  pellets  composed  of  the  indigestible 
parts  of  which  it  disgorges.  It  is  furnished  with  glands  which  supply  the 
unctuous  matter  with  which  it  fastens  its  nest. 

This  species  does  not  appear  to  extend  its  migrations  farther  east  than  the 
British  provinces  of  New  Brunswick  and  Nova  Scotia.  It  is  unknown  in 
Newfoundland  and  Labrador;  nor  was  it  until  the  29th  of  May  that  I  saw 
some  at  Eastport  in  Maine,  where  a  few  breed. 

Chimney  Swallow,  Ilirundo pelasgia,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  v.  p.  48. 
Cypselus  pelasgius,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  63. 

Chimney  Swift  or  Swallow,  Cypselus  pelasgius,  Nutt.  Mann.,  vol.  i.  p.  609. 
Chimney  Swallow  or  American  Swift,  Cypselus  pelasgius,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  ii.  p. 
329;  vol.  v.  p.  419. 

Brownish-black,  lighter  on  the  rump,  with  a  slight  greenish  gloss  on  the 
head  and  back;  throat  .greyish-white,  lower  parts  greyish-brown,  tinged  with 
green;  loral  space  black,  and  a  greyish-white  line  over  the  eye.  Female 
similar  to  the  male. 

Male  41,  12. 


FAMILY  VI.     HIRUNDIN^E.     SWALLOWS. 

Bill  very  short,  much  depressed  and  very  broad  at  the  base,  compressed 
toward  the  tip;  upper  mandible  with  the  dorsal  line  convex,  the  edges  over- 
lapping, with  a  small  notch  close  to  the  slightly  decurved  tip.  Head  broad, 
depressed;  neck  very  short,  body  moderate.  Feet  very  short,  tarsus  very 
short,  anteriorly  scutellate;  toes  of  moderate  size;  first  large,  all  scutellate  in 
their  whole  length;  claws  rather  strong,  compressed,  well  curved,  acute. 
Plumage  soft,  blended,  glossy.  No  bristles  at  the  base  of  the  bill.  Wings 
extremely  long,  narrow,  pointed,  somewhat  falciform;  secondaries  very  short. 
Tail  generally  emarginate,  of  twelve  feathers.  Mouth  extremely  wide; 
cesophagus  rather  wide,  without  crop;  stomach  elliptical  or  roundish,  muscu- 
lar, with  a  dense  rugous  epithelium;  coeca  very  small.  Four  pairs  of  inferior 
laryngeal  muscles.  Nest  in  holes  in  banks,  buildings,  or  trees,  or  attached  to 
the  surface  of  these  objects.    Eggs  from  four  to  six,  white,  plain,  or  spotted. 

Vol.  I.  26 


170 


Genus  I.— HIRUNDO,  Linn.     SWALLOW. 

Characters  as  above;  tail  emarginate  or  forked. 


THE   PURPLE   MARTIN. 

Hirujvdo  purpurea,  Linn. 
PLATE  XLV.— Male  and  Female. 

The  Purple  Martin  makes  its  appearance  in  the  City  of  New  Orleans  from 
the  1st  to  the  9th  of  February,  occasionally  a  few  days  earlier  than  the  first 
of  these  dates,  and  is  then  to  be  seen  gambolling  through  the  air,  over  the 
city  and  the  river,  feeding  on  many  sorts  of  insects,  which  are  there  found 
in  abundance  at  that  period. 

It  frequently  rears  three  broods  whilst  with  us.  I  have  had  several 
opportunities,  at  the  period  of  their  arrival,  of  seeing  prodigious  flocks 
moving  over  that  city  or  its  vicinity,  at  a  considerable  height,  each  bird 
performing  circular  sweeps  as  it  proceeded,  for  the  purpose  of  procuring 
food.  These  flocks  were  loose,  and  moved  either  eastward,  or  towards  the 
north-west,  at  a  rate  not  exceeding  four  miles  in  the  hour,  as  I  walked  under 
one  of  them  with  ease  for  upwards  of  two  miles,  at  that  rate,  on  the  4th  of 
February,  1821,  on  the  bank  of  the  river  below  the  city,  constantly  looking 
up  at  the  birds,  to  the  great  astonishment  of  many  passengers,  who  were 
bent  on  far  different  pursuits.  My  Fahrenheit's  thermometer  stood  at  68°, 
the  weather  being  calm  and  drizzly.  This  flock  extended  about  a  mile  and 
a  half  in  length,  by  a  quarter  of  a  mile  in  breadth.  On  the  9th  of  the  same 
month,  not  far  above  the  Battleground,  I  enjoyed  another  sight  of  the 
same  kind,  although  I  did  not  think  the  flock  so  numerous. 

At  the  Falls  of  the  Ohio,  I  have  seen  Martins  as  early  as  the  15th  of 
March,  arriving  in  small  detached  parties  of  only  five  or  six  individuals, 
when  the  thermometer  was  as  low  as  2S°,  the  next  day  at  45°,  and  again,  in 
the  same  week,  so  low  as  to  cause  the  death  of  all  the  Martins,  or  to  render 
them  so  incapable  of  flying  as  to  sutler  children  to  catch  them.  By  the  25th 
of  the  same  month,  they  are  generally  plentiful  about  that  neighbourhood. 

At  St.  Genevieve,  in  the  State  of  Missouri,  they  seldom  arrive  before  the 


N°9. 


PI  45. 


w 


//////V" 


■    '///r/zii . 


THE  PURPLE  MARTIN.  173 

the  tree  on  the  trunk  of  which  the  Blue-bird's  box  was  fastened,  caught  the 
Martin,  and  clipped  his  tail  with  scissors,  in  the  hope  that  such  mortifying 
punishment  might  prove  effectual  in  inducing  him  to  remove  to  his  own 
tenement.  No  such  thing;  for  no  sooner  had  I  launched  him  into  the  air, 
than  he  at  once  rushed  back  to  the  box.  I  again  caught  him,  and  clipped 
the  tip  of  each  wing  in  such  a  manner  that  he  still  could  fly  sufficiently  well 
to  procure  food,  and  once  more  set  him  at  liberty.  The  desired  effect, 
however,  was  not  produced,  and  as  I  saw  the  pertinacious  Martin  keep  the 
box  in  spite  of  all  my  wishes  that  he  should  give  it  up,  I  seized  him  in 
anger,  and  disposed  of  him  in  such  a  way  that  he  never  returned  to  the 
neighbourhood. 

At  the  house  of  a  friend  of  mine  in  Louisiana,  some  Martins  took  posses- 
sion of  sundry  holes  in  the  cornices,  and  there  reared  their  young  for  several 
years,  until  the  insects  which  they  introduced  to  the  house  induced  the 
owner  to  think  of  a  reform.  Carpenters  were  employed  to  clean  the  place, 
and  close  up  the  apertures  by  which  the  birds  entered  the  cornice.  This 
was  soon  done.  The  Martins  seemed  in  despair;  they  brought  twigs  and 
other  materials,  and  began  to  form  nests  wherever  a  hole  could  be  found  in 
any  part  of  the  building;  but  were  so  chased  off  that  after  repeated  attempts, 
the  season  being  in  the  mean  time  advanced,  they  were  forced  away,  and 
betook  themselves  to  some  Woodpeckers'  holes  on  the  dead  trees  about  the 
plantation.  The  next  spring,  a  house  was  built  for  them.  The  erection  of 
such  houses  is  a  general  practice,  the  Purple  Martin  being  considered  as  a 
privileged  pilgrim,  and  the  harbinger  of  spring. 

The  note  of  the  Martin  is  not  melodious,  but  is  nevertheless  very  pleasing. 
The  twitterings  of  the  male  while  courting  the  female  are  more  interesting. 
Its  notes  are  among  the  first  that  are  heard  in  the  morning,  and  are  welcome 
to  the  sense  of  every  body.  The  industrious  farmer  rises  from  his  bed  as  he 
hears  them.  They  are  soon  after  mingled  with  those  of  many  other  birds, 
and  the  husbandman,  certain  of  a  fine  day,  renews  his  peaceful  labours  with 
an  elated  heart.  The  still  more  independent  Indian  is  also  fond  of  the  Mar- 
tin's company.  He  frequently  hangs  up  a  calabash  on  some  twig  near  his 
camp,  and  in  this  cradle  the  bird  keeps  watch,  and  sallies  forth  to  drive  off 
the  vulture  that  might  otherwise  commit  depredations  on  the  deer-skins  or 
pieces  of  venison  exposed  to  the  air  to  be  dried.  The  slaves  in  the  Southern 
States  take  more  pains  to  accommodate  this  favourite  bird.  The  calabash  is 
neatly  scooped  out,  and  attached  to  the  flexible  top  of  a  cane,  brought  from 
the  swamp,  where  that  plant  usually  grows,  and  placed  close  to  their  huts. 
Almost  every  country  tavern  has  a  Martin  box  on  the  upper  part  of  its  sign- 
board; and  I  have  observed  that  the  handsomer  the  box,  the  better  does  the 
inn  generally  prove  to  be. 


174  THE  PURPLE  MARTIN. 

All  our  cities  are  furnished  with  houses  for  the  reception  of  these  birds; 
and  it  is  seldom  that  even  lads  bent  upon  mischief  disturb  the  favoured  Mar- 
tin. He  sweeps  along  the  streets,  here  and  there  seizing  a  fly,  hangs  to  the 
eaves  of  the  houses,  or  peeps  into  them,  as  he  poises  himself  in  the  air  in 
front  of  the  windows,  or  mounts  high  above  the  city,  soaring  into  the  clear 
sky,  plays  with  the  string  of  the  child's  kite,  snapping  at  it,  as  he  swiftly 
passes,  with  unerring  precision,  or  suddenly  sweeps  along  the  roofs,  chasing 
off  grimalkin,  who  is  probably  prowling  in  quest  of  his  young. 

In  the  Middle  States,  the  nest  of  the  Martin  is  built,  or  that  of  the  preced- 
ing year  repaired  and  augmented,  eight  or  ten  days  after  its  arrival,  or  about 
the  20th  of  April.  It  is  composed  of  dry  sticks,  willow-twigs,  grasses,  leaves 
green  and  dry,  feathers,  and  whatever  rags  he  meets  with.  The  eggs,  which 
are  pure  white,  are  from  four  to  six.  Many  pairs  resort  to  the  same  box  to 
breed,  and  the  little  fraternity  appear  to  live  in  perfect  harmony.  They  rear 
two  broods  in  a  season.  The  first  comes  forth  in  the  end  of  May,  the  second 
about  the  middle  of  July.  In  Louisiana,  they  sometimes  have  three  broods. 
The  male  takes  part  of  the  labour  of  incubation,  and  is  extremely  attentive 
to  his  mate.  He  is  seen  twittering  on  the  box,  and  frequently  flying  past 
the  hole.  His  notes  are  at  this  time  emphatical  and  prolonged,  low  and  less 
musical  than  even  his  common  pews.  Their  food  consists  entirely  of  insects, 
among  which  are  large  beetles.     They  seldom  seize  the  honey-bee. 

The  circumstance  of  their  leaving  the  United  States  so  early  in  autumn, 
has  inclined  me  to  think  that  they  must  go  farther  south  than  any  of  our 
migratory  land  birds. 

Purple  Martin,  Hirundo purpurea,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  i.  p.  58. 

Hirundo  purpurea,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  64. 

Purple  Martin,  Hirundo  purpurea,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  598. 

Purple  Martin,  Hirundo  purpurea,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  115;  vol.  v.  p.  408. 

Bill  rather  stout;  wings  as  long  as  the  tail,  which  is  deeply  emarginate. 
Plumage  silky,  shining,  purplish-black,  with  steel-blue  reflections;  quills  and 
tail-feathers  brownish-black;  tarsi  and  toes  purplish-black.  Female  with  the 
upper  parts  paler,  and  tinged  with  grey,  the  lower  light  grey,  longitudinally 
streaked  with  black. 

Male,  1\,  16.     Female,  7^,  15TV 


175 


THE   WHITE-BELLIED   SWALLOW. 

~HlRTTNDO   BICOLOK,    Vitill. 

PLATE  XLVL— Male  and  Female. 

This  Swallow  often  spends  the  winter  months  in  the  State  of  Louisiana, 
resorting  frequently  to  the  neighbourhood  of  the  marshes  that  border  Lake 
Pontchartrain  and  Bayou  St.  John,  near  the  city  of  New  Orleans.  At  the 
beginning  of  spring,  it  spreads  widely  over  the  country,  and  may  be  observ- 
ed skimming  over  the  streets  of  our  cities,  as  well  as  along  the  meadows  in 
their  neighbourhood. 

Its  flight  is  easy,  continued,  and  capable  of  being  greatly  protracted.  It  is 
seen  sailing,  circling,  turning,  and  winding  in  all  directions,  during  the  greater 
part  of  the  day.  Like  all  other  Swallows,  it  feeds  on  the  wing,  unceasingly 
pursuing  insects  of  various  kinds,  and  in  seizing  them  producing  a  snapping 
noise,  which  may  be  heard  at  some  distance.  So  quarrelsome  is  this  Swal- 
low, that  it  is  almost  continually  fighting  with  its  own  species.  Yet  they 
remain  in  flocks  at  all  seasons,  and  many  pairs  are  often  seen  to  breed  within 
a  short  distance  of  each  other.  It  also  attacks  the  House  Swallow,  and  fre- 
quently takes  possession  of  its  nest. 

It  generally  prefers  the  hollow  of  a  tree  for  its  nest,  which  is  of  a  globular 
form,  composed  of  slender  grasses,  and  abundantly  lined  with  feathers  of 
various  kinds.  The  eggs  are  from  four  to  six,  of  a  pure  white  colour,  strong- 
ly tinged  with  bluish,  occasioned  by  the  transparency  of  the  shell,  and  are 
deposited  about  the  end  of  May.     It  breeds  twice  during  the  season. 

No  sooner  have  the  young  of  the  second  brood  acquired  their  full  power 
of  flight,  than  parents  and  offspring  assemble  in  large  flocks,  and  resort  to  the 
roofs  of  houses,  the  tops  of  decayed  trees,  or  the  sandy  beaches  of  our  rivers, 
from  whence  they  take  their  departure  for  the  south.  They  fly  in  a  close 
body,  and  thus  continue  their  journey,  until  they  reach  the  places  adapted 
for  their  winter  residence,  when  they  again  resume  by  day  the  habits  which 
they  exhibit  during  their  summer  sojourn  in  the  Middle  and  Northern 
States,  but  collect  at  night  and  resort  to  the  sedges  and  tall  plants  of  the 
marshes. 

This  species  is  found  abundantly  dispersed  over  the  Rocky  Mountains, 
and  along  the  Columbia  River.  I  have  traced  it  on  our  Atlantic  coast  from 
the  Texas  to  Labrador,  and  Dr.  Richardson  states  that  it  frequents  the 
woody  districts  of  the  Fur  Countries  up  to  the  68th  parallel,  but  does  not 


176  THE  WHITE-BELLIED  SWALLOW. 

mention  the  periods  of  its  arrival  or  departure.  In  all  parts  of  the  country 
which  are  well  wooded,  it  was,  until  lately,  in  the  constant  habit  of  breeding 
in  the  hollows  of  trees;  now,  however,  this  is  not  so  much  the  case,  as  will 
be  seen  from  the  following  note  of  Dr.  Thomas  M.  Brewer  of  Boston: — 
"The  Hirundo  bicolor  arrives  in  New  England  the  last  of  April  or  the 
first  of  May,  and  is  principally  occupied,  preparatory  to  breeding,  with 
obstinate  contests  with  its  own  species,  as  well  as  with  the  Blue-bird,  the 
Wren,  and  the  Barn  Swallow.  In  the  vicinity  of  Boston,  since  the  destruc- 
tion of  the  Purple  Martins  already  mentioned,  they  have  taken  their  places, 
building  in  the  boxes,  jars,  &c.  originally  intended  for  their  relatives,  so 
much  so,  that  in  this  vicinity  they  are  not  now  known  to  breed  at  all  in  the 
hollow  trees;  a  change  of  habit  very  unusual,  if  not  wholly  unexampled.  So 
much  do  they  prefer  their  present  mode  of  breeding,  that  I  have  known 
them  to  build  in  a  rude  candle-box,  of  which  one  side  had  been  knocked  out, 
placed  upon  the  top  of  the  house.  In  the  first  part  of  August,  they  collect 
in  large  flocks  about  ten  days  before  their  departure  for  warmer  climates. 
During  that  time  they  are  to  be  seen  in  great  quantities  flying  around  and 
over  the  houses  in  Boston  in  quest  of  insects." 

My  friend  Dr.  Bachman  says,  "On  the  afternoon  of  the  16th  of  October, 
1833,  in  company  with  Dr.  Wilson  and  Mr.  John  Woodhouse  Audubon, 
I  saw  such  an  immense  quantity  of  this  species  of  birds  that  the  air  was 
positively  darkened.  As  far  as  the  eye  could  reach,  there  were  Swallows 
crowded  thickly  together,  and  winging  their  way  southward;  there  must 
have  been  many  millions!" 

Green-blue  or  White-bellied  Swallow,  Hirundo  viridis,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  iii.  p.  44. 

Hirundo  bicolor,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  G5. 

White-bellied  Swallow,  Hirundo  bicolor,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  605. 

White-bellied  Swallow,  Hirundo  bicolor,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  491;  vol.  v.  p.  417. 

Wings  a  little  longer  than  the  tail,  which  is  deeply  emarginate.  Upper 
parts  steel-blue,  with  green  reflections,  lower  white;  feet  flesh  coloured. 
Female  similar  to  the  male. 

Male,  5^  inches  long,  10  in  extent  of  wings. 


177 


THE  REPUBLICAN   OR   CLIFF   SWALLOW. 

^Hirundo  fulva,  Vieill. 

PLATE  XLVIL— Male,  Female,  and  Nests. 

In  the  spring  of  1S15,  I  for  the  first  time  saw  a  few  individuals  of  this 
species  at  Henderson,  on  the  banks  of  the  Ohio,  a  hundred  and  twenty  miles 
below  the  Falls  of  that  river.  It  was  an  excessively  cold  morning,  and  near- 
ly all  were  killed  by  the  severity  of  the  weather.  I  drew  up  a  description 
at  the  time,  naming  the  species  Hirundo  rejmblicana,  the  Republican 
Swallow,  in  allusion  to  the  mode  in  which  the  individuals  belonging  to  it 
associate,  for  the  purpose  of  forming  their  nests  and  rearing  their  young. 
Unfortunately,  through  the  carelessness  of  my  assistant,  the  specimens  were 
lost,  and  I  despaired  for  years  of  meeting  with  others. 

In  the  year  1819,  my  hopes  were  revived  by  Mr.  Robert  Best,  curator 
of  the  Western  Museum  at  Cincinnati,  who  informed  me  that  a  strange  spe- 
cies of  bird  had  made  its  appearance  in  the  neighbourhood,  building  nests  in 
clusters,  affixed  to  the  walls.  In  consequence  of  this  information,  I  imme- 
diately crossed  the  Ohio  to  Newport,  in  Kentucky,  where  he  had  seen  many 
nests  the  preceding  season;  and  no  sooner  were  we  landed  than  the  chirrup- 
ing of  my  long-lost  little  strangers  saluted  my  ear.  Numbers  of  them  were 
busily  engaged  in  repairing  the  damage  done  to  their  nests  by  the  storms  of 
the  preceding  winter. 

Major  Oldham  of  the  United  States  Army,  then  commandant  of  the  gar- 
rison, politely  offered  us  the  means  of  examining  the  settlement  of  these 
birds,  attached  to  the  walls  of  the  building  under  his  charge.  He  informed 
us,  that,  in  1815,  he  first  saw  a  few  of  them  working  against  the  wall  of  the 
house,  immediately  under  the  eaves  and  cornice;  that  their  work  was  carried 
on  rapidly  and  peaceably,  and  that  as  soon  as  the  young  were  able  to  travel, 
they  all  departed.  Since  that  period,  they  had  returned  every  spring,  and 
then  amounted  to  several  hundreds.  They  usually  appeared  about  the  10th 
of  April,  and  immediately  began  their  work,  which  was  at  that  moment,  it 
being  then  the  20th  of  that  month,  going  on  in  a  regular  manner,  against  the 
walls  of  the  arsenal.  They  had  about  fifty  nests  quite  finished,  and  others  in 
progress. 

About  day-break  they  flew  down  to  the  shore  of  the  river,  one  hundred 
yards  distant,  for  the  muddy  sand,  of  which  the  nests  were  constructed,  and 
worked  with  great  assiduity  until  near  the  middle  of  the  day,  as  if  aware  that 

Vol.  I.  27 


178  THE  REPUBLICAN  OR  CLIFF  SWALLOW. 

t 

the  heat  of  the  sun  was  necessary  to  dry  and  harden  their  moist  tenements. 
They  then  ceased  from  labour  for  a  few  hours,  amused  themselves  by  per- 
forming aerial  evolutions,  courted  and  caressed  their  mates  with  much  affec- 
tion, and  snapped  at  flies  and  other  insects  on  the  wing.  They  often  exam- 
ined their  nests  to  see  if  they  were  sufficiently  dry,  and  as  soon  as  these  ap- 
peared to  have  acquired  the  requisite  firmness,  they  renewed  their  labours. 
Until  the  females  began  to  sit,  they  all  roosted  in  the  hollow  limbs  of  the 
sycamores  (Platanus  Occident  a  lis)  growing  on  the  banks  of  the  Licking 
River,  but  when  incubation  commenced,  the  males  alone  resorted  to  the  trees. 
A  second  party  arrived,  and  were  so  hard  pressed  for  time,  that  they  betook 
themselves  to  the  holes  in  the  wall,  where  bricks  had  been  left  out  for  the 
scaffolding.  These  they  fitted  with  projecting  necks,  similar  to  those  of  the 
complete  nests  of  the  others.  Their  eggs  were  deposited  on  a  few  bits  of 
straw,  and  great  caution  was  necessary  in  attempting  to  procure  them,  as  the 
slightest  touch  crumbled  their  frail  tenement  into  dust.  By  means  of  a  table- 
spoon, I  was  enabled  to  procure  many  of  them.  Each  nest  contained  four 
eggs,  which  were  white,  with  dusky  spots.  Only  one  brood  is  raised  in  a 
season.  The  energy  with  which  they  defended  their  nests  was  truly  asto- 
nishing. Although  I  had  taken  the  precaution  to  visit  them  at  sun-set,  when 
I  supposed  they  would  all  have  been  at  rest,  yet  a  single  female  happening 
to  give  the  alarm,  immediately  called  out  the  whole  tribe.  They  snapped  at 
my  hat,  body  and  legs,  passed  between  me  and  the  nests,  within  an  inch  of 
my  face,  twittering  their  rage  and  sorrow.  They  continued  their  attacks  as 
I  descended,  and  accompanied  me  for  some  distance.  Their  note  may  be 
perfectly  imitated  by  rubbing  a  cork  damped  with  spirit  against  the  neck  of 
a  bottle. 

A  third  party  arrived  a  few  days  after,  and  immediately  commenced  build- 
ing. In  one  week  they  had  completed  their  operations,  and  at  the  end  of 
that  time  thirty  nests  hung  clustered  like  so  many  gourds,  each  having  a 
neck  two  inches  long.  On  the  27th  July,  the  young  were  able  to  follow 
their  parents.  They  all  exhibited  the  white  frontlet,  and  were  scarcely  dis- 
tinguishable in  any  part  of  their  plumage  from  the  old  birds.  On  the  1st  of 
August,  they  all  assembled  near  their  nests,  mounted  some  three  hundred 
feet  in  the  air,  and  about  10  o'clock  in  the  morning  took  their  departure, 
flying  in  a  loose  body,  in  a  direction  due  north.  They  returned  the  same 
evening  about  dusk,  and  continued  these  excursions,  no  doubt  to  exercise 
their  powers,  until  the  third,  when,  uttering  a  farewell  cry,  they  shaped  the 
same  course  at  the  same  hour,  and  finally  disappeared.  Shortly  after  their 
departure,  I  was  informed  that  several  hundreds  of  their  nests  were  attached 
to  the  court-house  at  the  mouth  of  the  Kentucky  river.  They  had  com- 
menced building  them  in  1815.     A  person  likewise  informed  me,  that,  along 


THE  REPUBLICAN  OR  CLIFF  SWALLOW.  179 

the  cliffs  of  the  Kentucky,  he  had  seen  many  bunches,  as  he  termed  them,  of 
these  nests  attached  to  the  naked  shelving  rocks  overhanging  that  river. 

Being  extremely  desirous  of  settling  the  long-agitated  question  respecting 
the  migration  or  supposed  torpidity  of  Swallows,  I  embraced  every  opportu- 
nity of  examining  their  habits,  carefully  noted  their  arrival  and  disappear- 
ance, and  recorded  every  fact  connected  with  their  history.  After  some 
years  of  constant  observation  and  reflection,  I  remarked  that  among  all  the 
species  of  migratory  birds,  those  that  remove  farthest  from  us,  depart  sooner 
than  those  which  retire  only  to  the  confines  of  the  United  States;  and,  by  a 
parity  of  reasoning,  those  that  remain  later  return  earlier  in  the  spring. 
These  remarks  were  confirmed  as  I  advanced  towards  the  south-west,  on  the 
approach  of  winter,  for  I  there  found  numbers  of  Warblers,  Thrushes,  &c.  in 
full  feather  and  song.  It  was  also  remarked  that  the  Hirundo  viridis  of 
Wilson  (called  by  the  French  of  Lower  Louisiana  Le  Petit  Martinet  a 
ventre  blanc)  remained  about  the  city  of  New  Orleans  later  than  any  other 
Swallow.  As  immense  numbers  of  them  were  seen  during  the  month  of 
November,  I  kept  a  diary  of  the  temperature  from  the  3d  of  that  month,  un- 
til the  arrival  of  Hirundo  purpurea.  The  following  notes  are  taken  from 
my  journal,  and  as  I  had  excellent  opportunities,  during  a  residence  of  many 
years  in  that  country,  of  visiting  the  lakes  to  which  these  Swallows  were 
said  to  resort,  during  the  transient  frosts,  I  present  them  with  confidence. 

Nov.  11. — Weather  very  sharp,  with  a  heavy  white  frost.  Swallows  in 
abundance  during  the  whole  day.  On  inquiring  of  the  inhabitants  if  this  was 
a  usual  occurrence,  I  was  answered  in  the  affirmative  by  all  the  French  and 
Spaniards.  From  this  date  to  the  22nd,  the  thermometer  averaged  65°,  the 
weather  generally  a  drizzly  fog.  Swallows  playing  over  the  city  in  thou- 
sands. 

Nov.  25. — Thermometer  this  morning  at  30°.  Ice  in  New  Orleans  a  quar- 
ter of  an  inch  thick.  The  Swallows  resorted  to  the  lee  of  the  Cypress  Swamp 
in  the  rear  of  the  city.  Thousands  were  flying  in  different  flocks.  Fourteen 
were  killed  at  a  single  shot,  all  in  perfect  plumage,  and  very  fat.  The  mar- 
kets were  abundantly  supplied  with  these  tender,  juicy,  and  delicious  birds. 
Saw  Swallows  every  day,  but  remarked  them  more  plentiful  the  stronger  the 
breeze  blew  from  the  sea. 

Jan.  14. — Thermometer  42°.  Weather  continues  drizzly.  My  little  fa- 
vourites constantly  in  view. 

Jan.  28. — Thermometer  at  40°.  Having  seen  the  Hirundo  viridis  con- 
tinually, and  the  H.  purpurea  or  Purple  Martin  beginning  to  appear,  I  dis- 
continued my  observations. 

During  the  whole  winter  many  of  them  retired  to  the  holes  about  the 
houses,  but  the  greater  number  resorted  to  the  lakes,  and  spent  the  night 


180  THE  REPUBLICAN  OR  CLIFF  SWALLOW. 

among  the  branches  of  Myrica  cerifera,  the  drier,  as  it  is  termed  by  the 
French  settlers. 

About  sunset  they  began  to  flock  together,  calling  to  each  other  for  that 
purpose,  and  in  a  short  time  presented  the  appearance  of  clouds  moving  to- 
wards the  lakes,  or  the  mouth  of  the  Mississippi,  as  the  weather  and  wind 
suited.  Their  aerial  evolutions  before  they  alight,  are  truly  beautiful.  They 
appear  at  first  as  if  reconnoitering  the  place;  when,  suddenly  throwing  them- 
selves into  a  vortex  of  apparent  confusion,  they  descend  spirally  with  asto- 
nishing quickness,  and  very  much  resemble  a  trombe  or  water-spout.  When 
within  a  few  feet  of  the  driers,  they  disperse  in  all  directions,  and  settle  in 
a  few  moments.  Their  twittering,  and  the  motions  of  their  wings,  are,  how- 
ever, heard  during  the  whole  night.  As  soon  as  the  day  begins  to  dawn, 
they  rise,  flying  low  over  the  lakes,  almost  touching  the  water  for  some  time, 
and  then  rising,  gradually  move  off  in  search  of  food,  separating  in  different 
directions.  The  hunters  who  resort  to  these  places  destroy  great  numbers 
of  them,  by  knocking  them  down  with  light  paddles,  used  in  propelling  their 
canoes. 

Fulvous  or  Cliff  Swallow,  Hirundo fulva,  Bonap.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  i.  p.  63. 
Hirundo  fulva,  Bonap.  Syn.  p.  64. 

Fulvous  or  Cliff  Swallow,  Hirundo  fulva,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  603. 
Republican  or  Cliff  Swallow,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  353;  vol.  v.  p.  415. 

Bill  shorter  than  in  the  last  species;  wings  of  the  same  length  as  the  tail, 
which  is  slightly  emarginate.  Upper  part  of  head,  back,  and  smaller  wing- 
coverts  black,  with  bluish-green  reflections;  forehead  white,  generally  tinged 
with  red;  loral  space  and  a  band  on  the  lower  part  of  the  forehead  black; 
chin,  throat,  and  sides  of  the  neck  deep  brownish-red;  a  patch  of  black  on 
the  fore-neck;  rump  light  yellowish-red;  lower  parts  greyish-white,  ante- 
riorly tinged  with  red.  Female,  similar  to  the  male.  Young,  dark  greyish- 
brown  above,  reddish-white  beneath. 

Male,  5h,  12.     Female,  5T\,  12f. 


X82  THE  BARN  SWALLOW. 

and  affords  sufficient  room,  you  find  several  nests  together,  and  in  some 
instances  I  have  seen  seven  or  eight  within  a  few  inches  of  each  other;  nay, 
in  some  large  barns  I  have  counted  forty,  fifty,  or  more.  The  male  and  the 
female  both  betake  themselves  to  the  borders  of  creeks,  rivers,  ponds,  or 
lakes,  where  they  form  small  pellets  of  mud  or  moist  earth,  which  they 
carry  in  their  bill  to  the  chosen  spot,  and  place  against  the  wood,  the  wall, 
or  the  rock,  as  it  may  chance  to  be.  They  dispose  of  these  pellets  in  regular 
layers,  mixing,  especially  with  the  lower,  a  considerable  quantity  of  long 
slender  grasses,  which  often  dangle  for  several  inches  beneath  the  bottom  of 
the  nest.  The  first  layers  are  short,  but  the  rest  gradually  increase  in  length, 
as  the  birds  proceed  upwards  with  their  work,  until  they  reach  the  top,  when 
the  fabric  resembles  the  section  of  an  inverted  cone,  the  length  being  eight 
inches,  and  the  greatest  diameter  six,  while  that  from  the  wall  or  other  flat 
surface  to  the  outside  of  the  shell  is  three  and  a  half,  and  the  latter  is  fully 
an  inch  thick.  I  have  never  observed  in  a  newly  finished  nest,  the  expan- 
sion of  the  upper  layer  mentioned  by  Wilson,  although  I  have  frequently 
seen  it  in  one  that  has  been  repaired  or  enlarged.  The  average  weight  of 
such  a  nest  as  I  have  described  is  more  than  two  pounds,  but  there  is^consi- 
derable  difference  as  to  size  between  different  nests,  some  being  shorter  by 
two  or  three  inches,  and  proportionally  narrow  at  the  top.  These  differences 
depend  much  on  the  time  the  birds  have  to  construct  their  tenement  pre- 
vious to  depositing  the  eggs.  Now  and  then  I  have  seen  some  formed  at  a 
late  period,  that  were  altogether  destitute  of  the  intermixture  of  grass  with 
the  mud  observed  in  the  nest  described  above,  which  was  a  perfect  one,  and 
had  occupied  the  birds  seven  days  in  constructing  it,  during  which  period  they 
laboured  from  sunrise  until  dusk,  with  an  intermission  of  several  hours  in 
the  middle  of  the  day.  Within  the  shell  of  mud  is  a  bed,  several  inches 
thick,  of  slender  grasses  arranged  in  a  circular  form,  over  which  is  placed  a 
quantity  of  large  soft  feathers.  I  never  saw  one  of  these  nests  in  a  chimney, 
nor  have  I  ever  heard  of  their  occurring  in  such  situations,  they  being  usually 
occupied  by  the  American  Swift,  which  is  a  more  powerful  bird,  and  may 
perhaps  prevent  the  Barn  Swallow  from  entering.  The  eggs  are  from  four 
to  six,  rather  small  and  elongated,  semi-translucent,  white,  and  sparingly 
spotted  all  over  with  reddish-brown.  The  period  of  incubation  is  thirteen 
days,  and  both  sexes  sit,  although  not  for  the  same  length  of  time,  the  female 
performing  the  greater  part  of  the  task.  Each  provides  the  other  with  food 
on  this  occasion,  and  both  rest  at  night  beside  each  other  in  the  nest.  In 
South  Carolina,  where  a  few  breed,  the  nest  is  formed  in  the  beginning  of 
April,  and  in  Kentucky  about  the  first  of  May. 

When  the  young  have  attained  a  considerable  size,  the  parents,  who  feed 
them  with  much  care  and  affection,  roost  in  the  nearest  convenient  place. 


THE  BARN  SWALLOW.  183 

This  species  seldom  raises  more  than  two  broods  in  the  Southern  and  Middle 
Districts,  and  never,  I  believe,  more  than  one  in  Maine  and  farther  north. 
The  little  ones,  when  fully  fledged,  are  enticed  to  fly  by  their  parents,  who, 
shortly  after  their  first  essays,  lead  them  to  the  sides  of  fields,  roads  or  rivers, 
where  you  may  see  them  alight,  often  not  far  from  each  other,  on  low  walls, 
fence-stakes  and  rails,  or  the  withered  twigs  or  branches  of  some  convenient 
tree,  generally  in  the  vicinity  of  a  place  in  which  the  old  birds  can  easily 
procure  food  for  them.  As  the  young  improve  in  flying,  they  are  often  fed 
on  the  wing  by  the  parent  birds.  On  such  occasions,  when  the  old  and 
young  birds  meet,  they  both  rise  obliquely  in  the  air,  and  come  close 
together,  when  the  food  is  delivered  in  a  moment,  and  they  separate  to  con- 
tinue their  gambols.  In  the  evening  the  family  retires  to  the  breeding  place, 
to  which  it  usually  resorts  until  the  period  of  their  migration. 

About  the  middle  of  August,  the  old  and  young  birds  form  more  extensive 
associations,  flying  about  in  loose  flocks,  which  are  continually  increasing, 
and  alighting  in  groups  on  tall  trees,  churches,  court-houses,  or  barns,  where 
they  may  be  seen  for  hours  pluming  and  dressing  themselves,  or  removing 
the  small  insects  which  usually  infest  them.  At  such  times  they  chirp 
almost  continually,  and  make  sallies  of  a  few  hundred  yards,  returning  to 
the  same  place.  These  meetings  and  rambles  often  occupy  a  fortnight,  but 
generally  by  the  10th  of  September  great  flocks  have  set  out  for  the  south, 
while  others  are  seen  arriving  from  the  north.  The  dawn  of  a  fair  morning 
is  the  time  usually  chosen  by  these  birds  for  their  general  departure,  which 
I  have  no  reason  to  believe  is  prevented  by  a  contrary  wind.  They  are  seen 
moving  off  without  rising  far  above  the  tops  of  the  trees  or  towns  over  which 
they  pass;  and  I  am  of  opinion  that  most  of  them  in  large  parties  usually 
migrate  either  along  the  shores  of  the  Atlantic,  or  along  the  course  of  large 
streams,  such  places  being  most  likely  to  afford  suitable  retreats  at  night, 
when  they  betake  themselves  to  the  reeds  and  other  tall  grasses,  if  it  is  con- 
venient to  do  so,  although  I  have  witnessed  their  migration  during  a  fine, 
clear,  quiet  evening.  Should  they  meet  with  a  suitable  spot,  they  alight 
close  together,  and  for  awhile  twitter  loudly,  as  if  to  invite  approaching 
flocks  or  stragglers  to  join  them.  In  such  places  I  have  seen  great  flocks  of 
this  species  in  East  Florida; — and  here,  reader,  I  may  tell  you  that  the  fogs 
of  that  latitude  seem  not  unfrequently  to  bewilder  their  whole  phalanx.  One 
morning,  whilst  on  board  the  United  States  Schooner  "Spark,"  lieutenant 
commandant  Piercey  and  the  officers  directed  my  attention  to  some  im- 
mense flocks  of  these  birds  flying  only  a  few  feet  above  the  water  for  nearly 
an  hour,  and  moving  round  the  vessel  as  if  completely  lost.  But  when  the 
morning  is  clear,  these  Swallows  rise  in  a  spiral  manner  from  the  reeds  to 


I§4  THE  BARN  SWALLOW. 

the  height  of  thirty  or  forty  yards,  extend  their  ranks,  and  continue  their 


course. 


I  found  flocks  of  Barn  Swallows  near  St.  Augustine  for  several  days  in 
succession,  until  the  beginning  of  December;  but  after  the  first  frost  none 
were  to  be  seen.  These  could  not  have  removed  many  degrees  farther  south, 
for  want  of  proper  food,  and  I  suspect  that  numbers  of  them  spend  the  whole 
winter  along  the  south  coast  of  the  Gulf  of  Mexico. 

The  flight  of  this  species  is  not  less  interesting  than  any  other  of  its  cha- 
racteristics. It  probably  surpasses  in  speed  that  of  any  other  species  of  the 
feathered  tribes,  excepting  the  Humming  Bird.  In  fine  calm  weather  their 
circuits  are  performed  at  a  considerable  elevation,  with  a  lightness  and  ease 
that  are  truly  admirable.  They  play  over  the  river,  the  field,  or  the  city 
with  equal  grace,  and  during  spring  and  summer  you  might  imagine  their 
object  was  to  fill  the  air  around  them  with  their  cheerful  twitterings.  When 
the  weather  lowers,  they  move  more  swiftly  in  tortuous  meanderings  over 
the  meadows,  and  through  the  streets  of  the  towns;  they  pass  and  repass, 
now  close  to  the  pavement,  now  along  the  walls  of  the  buildings,  here  and 
there  snapping  an  insect  as  they  glide  along  with  a  motion  so  rapid  that  you 
can  scarcely  follow  them  with  the  eye.  But  try: — There  she  skims  against 
the  wind  over  the  ruffled  stream;  up  she  shoots,  seizes  an  insect,  and  wheel- 
ing round,  sails  down  the  breeze  with  a  rapidity  that  carries  her  out  of  your 
sight  almost  in  a  moment.  Noon  arrived,  and  the  weather  being  sultry, 
round  the  horse  or  the  cow  she  passes  a  thousand  times,  seizing  on  each  tor- 
menting fly.  Now  she  seems  fain  to  enter  the  wood,  so  close  along  its  edge 
does  she  pursue  her  prey;  but  spying  a  Crow,  a  Raven,  a  Hawk  or  an  Eagle, 
off  she  shoots  with  doubled  speed  after  the  marauder,  and  the  next  instant  is 
seen  lashing,  as  it  were,  the  object  of  her  anger  with  admirable  dexterity, 
after  which,  full  of  gaiety  and  pride,  the  tiny  thing  returns  towards  the  earth, 
forming  to  herself  a  most  tortuous  path  in  the  air. 

On  the  ground  the  movements  of  this  Swallow  are  by  no  means  awkward, 
although,  when  compared  with  those  of  other  birds,  they  seem  rather  ham- 
pered. It  walks  by  very  short  steps,  and  aids  itself  with  its  wings.  Should 
it  be  necessary  to  remove  to  the  distance  of  a  few  yards,  it  prefers  flying. 
When  alighted  on  a  twig,  it  shews  a  peculiar  tremulous  motion  of  the  wings 
and  tail. 

The  song  of  our  Barn  Swallow  resembles  that  of  the  Chimney  Swallow  of 
England  so  much  that  I  am  unable  to  discern  the  smallest  difference.  Both 
sing  on  the  wing  and  when  alighted,  and  the  common  tweet  which  they  utter 
when  flying  off  is  precisely  the  same  in  both.  Their  food  also  is  similar;  at 
least  that  of  our  bird  consists  entirely  of  insects,  some  being  small  coleoptera, 


THE  BARN  SWALLOW.  185 

the  crustaceous  parts  of  which  are  disgorged  in  roundish  pellets  scarcely  the 
size  of  a  small  pea. 

I  have  represented  a  pair  of  our  Barn  Swallows  in  the  most  perfect  spring 
plumage,  together  with  a  nest  taken  from  one  of  the  rafters  of  a  barn  in  the 
State  of  New  Jersey,  in  which  there  was  at  least  a  score  of  them. 

An  individual  of  this  species  preserved  in  spirits  measured  to  end  of  tail 
6T82  inches,  to  end  of  wings  6^;  wing  from  flexure  4j§;  tail  3i;  extent  of 
wings  12y9j.  The  roof  of  the  mouth  is  flat  and  somewhat  transparent;  the 
posterior  aperture  of  the  nares  oblongo-linear,  margined  with  strong  papillae; 
the  tongue  3j  twelfths  long,  triangular,  emarginate  and  papillate  at  the  base, 
thin,  the  tip  slit  and  lacerate.  The  mouth  is  supplied  with  numerous  mucous 
crypts;  its  width  is  5|  twelfths.  There  is  a  very  narrow  flattened  salivary 
gland,  similar  to  that  of  the  Purple  Martin,  but  proportionally  smaller.  The 
oesophagus  is  2  inches  long,  l-£  twelfths  in  width,  simple  or  without  dilatation. 
The  stomach  is  elliptical,  7^  twelfths  long,  6  twelfths  broad,  its  muscles  dis- 
tinct; the  epithelium,  as  in  the  other  species,  tough,  with  longitudinal  rugae, 
and  of  a  reddish-brown  colour.  The  intestine  is  short  and  wide,  its  length 
being  6^  inches,  its  breadth  from  2\  twelfths  to  2  twelfths.  The  cceca  are 
2  twelfths  long,  \  twelfth  wide,  and  placed  at  the  distance  of  1 1  twelfths 
from  the  extremity;  the  rectum  is  dilated  into  an  oblong  cloaca;  about  5 
twelfths  in  width. 

The  trachea  is  1  inch  5, twelfths  long,  moderately  flattened,  from  1  twelfth 
to  f  twelfth  in  breadth;  its  rings  pretty  firm,  50  in  number,  with  two 
dimidiate  rings.  The  muscles  are  as  in  the  other  species;  the  bronchi  are 
moderate,  of  about  15  half  rings. 

Barn  Swallow,  Hirundo  Americana,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  v.  p.  34. 

Hirundo  Americana,  American  Barn  Swallow,  Swains.  &  Rich.  F.  Bor.  Amer.  vol.  ii. 

p.  329. 
Hirundo  rufa,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  64. 

Barn  Swallow,  Hirundo  rufa,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  601. 
Barn  Swallow,  Hirundo  rustica,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  ii.  p.  413;  vol.. v.  p.  411. 

Tail  very  deeply  forked,  the  lateral  feathers  much  exceeding  the  wings. 
Forehead  and  throat  bright  chestnut;  upper  parts  and  a  band  on  the  fore- 
neck  glossy  deep  steel-blue;  quills  and  tail  brownish-black,  glossed  with 
green;  the  latter  with  a  white  spot  on  the  inner  web  of  each  of  the  feathers, 
except  the  two  middle.  Female  similar  to  the  male.  Young  less  deeply 
coloured,  the  forehead  and  throat  pale  red,  the  band  on  the  fore-neck  dusky, 
tinged  with  red;  lateral  tail-feathers  not  exceeding  the  wings. 

Male,  7,  13.     Female,  6T32,  12TV 

Vol.  I.  28 


186 


VIOLET-GREEN   SWALLOW. 

■f  HlRUNDO  THALASSINA,   SwatUS. 

PLATE  XLIX.— Male  and  Female. 

Of  this,  the  most  beautiful  Swallow  hitherto  discovered  within  the  limits 
of  the  United  States,  the  following  account  has  been  transmitted  to  me  by 
my  friend  Mr.  Nuttall.  "We  first  met  with  this  elegant  species  within 
the  table-land  of  the  Rocky  Mountains,  and  they  were  particularly  abundant 
around  our  encampment  on  Harris  Fork,  a  branch  of  the  Colorado  of  the 
west.  They  are  nearly  always  associated  with  the  Cliff  Swallow,  here  like- 
wise particularly  numerous.  Their  flight  and  habits  are  also  similar,  but 
their  twitter  is  different,  and  not  much  unlike  the  note  of  our  Barn  Swallow. 
In  the  Rocky  Mountains,  near  our  camp,  we  observed  them  to  go  In  and  out 
of  deserted  nests  of  the  Cliff  Swallows,  which  they  appeared  to  occupy  in 
place  of  building  nests  of  their  own.  We  saw  this  species  afterwards  flying 
familiarly  about  in  the  vicinity  of  a  farm-house  (M.  Le  Boute's)  on  an 
elevated  small  isolated  prairie  on  the  banks  of  the  Wahlamet;  and  as  there 
are  no  cliffs  in  the  vicinity,  they  probably  here  breed  in  trees,  as  I  observed 
the  White-bellied  Martin  do.  This  beautiful  species  in  all  probability  ex- 
tends its  limits  from  hence  to  the  table-land  of  Mexico,  where  Mr.  Bullock, 
it  seems,  found  it. 

Mr.  Townsend,  who  afterwards  had  better  opportunities  of  observing  the 
habits  of  this  bird,  thus  speaks  of  it: — "Jlguila  chin  chin  of  the  Chinook 
Indians,  inhabits  the  neighbourhood  of  the  Colorado  of  the  west,  and  breeds 
along  its  margins  on  bluffs  of  clay,  where  it  attaches  a  nest  formed  of  mud 
and  grasses  resembling  in  some  measure  that  of  the  Cliff  Swallow,  but  want- 
ing the  pendulous  neck  in  that  of  the  latter  species.  The  eggs  are  four,  of 
a  dark  clay  colour,  with  a  few  spots  of  reddish-brown  at  the  larger  end. 
This  species  is  also  found  abundant  on  the  lower  waters  of  the  Columbia 
River,  where  it  breeds  "in  hollow  trees." 

Mr.  Townsend  also  informs  me  that  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  Columbia 
River,  the  Cliff  Swallow  attaches  its  nest  to  the  trunks  of  trees,  making  it  of 
the  same  form  and  materials  as  elsewhere.  From  the  above  facts,  and  many 
equally  curious,  which  I  have  mentioned,  respecting  the  variations  exhibited 
by  birds  in  the  manner  of  forming  their  nests,  as  well  as  in  their  size,  mate- 
rials, and  situation,  it  will  be  seen  that  differences  of  this  kind  are  not  of  so 
much  importance  as  has  hitherto  been  supposed,  in  establishing  distinctions 


_N?.lO. 


PL  49. 


./,•./ 


'      -    (alure  by  I  J  Aurlnbon  i  it      i 


I  .jiIi"  IVinli  il  5  (  n\"hv  ,|  ■]'  !■„,„.„  I'bilaci; 


BANK  SWALLOW  OR  SAND  MARTIN.  187 

between  species  supposed  by  some  to  be  different,  and  by  others  identical.  To 
give  you  some  definite  idea  of  what  I  would  here  impress  upon  your  mind, 
I  need  only  say  that  I  have  seen  nests  of  the  Barn  or  Chimney  Swallow 
placed  within  buildings,  under  cattle-sheds,  against  the  sides  of  wells,  and  in 
chimneys;  that  while  some  were  not  more  than  three  inches  deep,  others 
measured  nearly  nine;  while  in  some  there  was  scarcely  any  grass,  in  others 
it  formed  nearly  half  of  their  bulk.  I  have  also  observed  some  nests  of  the 
Cliff  Swallow  in  which  the  eggs  had  been  deposited  before  the  pendent  neck 
was  added,  and  which  remained  so  until  the  birds  had  reared  their  brood, 
amidst  other  nests  furnished  with  a  neck,  which  was  much  longer  in  some 
than  in  others.  From  this  I  have  inferred  that  nests  are  formed  more  or 
less  completely,  in  many  instances,  in  accordance  with  the  necessity  under 
which  the  bird  may  be  of  depositing  its  eggs. 

Hirundo  thalassinus,  Swains.  Syn.  of  Mex.  Birds,  Phil.  Mag.  for  1827,  p.  365. 
Violet-green  Swallow,  Hirundo  thalassina,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  iv.  p.  597. 

Bill  narrower  than  in  the  preceding  species;  wings  extremely  long,  ex- 
tending far  beyond  the  tail,  which  is  emarginate.  Upper  part  of  head  deep 
green,  gradually  shaded  into  the  dark  purple  of  the  hind  neck;  back  rich 
grass-green,  rump  and  upper  tail-coverts  carmine  purple;  a  line  over  the  eye, 
cheeks,  and  all  the  lower  parts  pure  white,  excepting  the  wing-coverts,  which 
are  light  grey.  Female  with  the  upper  part  of  the  head  and  hind  neck  light 
greyish-brown,  glossed  with  green;  the  back  as  in  the  male,  the  rump 
greyish-brown;  lower  parts  white,  anteriorly  tinged  with  grey. 

Male,  4|f ,  wing  4T\. 


BANK   SWALLOW   OR   SAND   MARTIN. 

"VHirtjndo  riparia,  Linn. 

PLATE  L. — Male,  Female,  and  Young. 

Imagine,  reader,  how  delighted  I  was  when,  in  East  Florida,  in  the  winter 
of  1831,  I  found  thousands  of  Bank  Swallows  gaily  skimming  over  the 
waters,  and  along  the  shores  of  the  rivers  and  inlets.  So  numerous  indeed 
were  they  that  I  felt  inclined  to  think  that  the  greater  part  of  those  which 
are  in  summer  dispersed  over  the  United  States,  and  the  regions  still  farther 
north,  must  have  congregated  to  form  those  vast  swarms.     The  first  time  I 


BANK  SWALLOW  OR  SAND  MARTIN.  189 

tions,  at  some  distance  from  any  water.  High  banks,  composed  of  softish 
sandy  earth,  on  the  shores  of  rivers,  lakes,  or  other  waters,  suit  them  best, 
and  in  such  situations  their  colonies  are  far  more  numerous  than  elsewhere. 
The  banks  of  the  Ohio,  and  some  parts  of  those  of  the  Mississippi,  called 
"Bluffs,"  have  appeared  to  me  to  be  most  resorted  to  by  this  species  in 
our  western  and  southern  districts,  although  I  have  met  with  considerable 
numbers  in  every  State  of  the  Union. 

In  Louisiana  this  species  begins  to  breed  early  in  March,  and  generally 
rears  two,  sometimes  three  broods  in  a  season.  In  our  Middle  Districts  it 
commences  about  a  month  later,  or  about  the  period  at  which  it  lays  in  Ken- 
tucky, and  there  produces  two  broods.  In  Newfoundland  and  Labrador,  it 
rarely  begins  to  breed  before  the  beginning  of  June,  and  lays  only  once. 
Dr.  Richardson  states,  that  he  saw  "thousands  of  these  Swallows  near  the 
mouth  of  the  Mackenzie,  in  the  sixty-eighth  parallel,  on  the  4th  of  July," 
and  from  the  state  of  the  weather  at  that  period  supposed  that  they  had 
arrived  there  at  least  a  fortnight  prior  to  that  date,  but  no  specimens  were 
brought  to  England,  and  the  description  given  in  the  Fauna  Boreali-Ameri- 
cana  is  a  mere  transcript  of  that  which  in  itself  is  quite  imperfect.  Indeed, 
there  is  not  in  any  work  with  which  I  am  acquainted  an  account  of  the  Sand 
Swallow  sufficiently  minute  and  accurate  to  characterize  in  an  adequate 
manner  that  very  common  species. 

The  sociability  and  gentleness  of  these  birds,  the  lightness  and  vigour 
with  which  they  perform  their  various  evolutions,  the  low  and  unobtrusive 
twittering  of  their  voice,  in  short,  all  their  actions  and  economy,  are  delight- 
ful to  contemplate.  Their  flight  is  exceedingly  graceful,  light,  yet  firm,  and 
capable  of  great  continuance.  They  seem  indeed  as  if  created  for  the  pur- 
pose of  spending  their  time  on  wing,  for  they  alight  less  often  to  rest  when 
full  grown  than  any  other  of  our  species,  when  not  sitting  on  their  eggs,  and 
are  seen  abroad  searching  for  food  later  in  the  dusk,  retiring  for  the  night  as 
late,  I  think,  as  our  Swift,  Cypselus  Jlmericanus.  As  they  procure  their 
food  more  commonly  than  the  other  species  along  the  margins  or  over  the 
surface  of  pools,  lakes,  rivers,  or  even  the  sea,  their  flight  is  generally  per- 
formed at  a  small  elevation,  which  is  the  case  with  others  only  when  the 
wind  blows  smartly,  or  the  atmosphere  is  damp  and  chill.  The  movements 
of  their  wings  are  those  common  to  the  family  of  Swallows,  which  flap  these 
members  less  frequently  than  perhaps  any  other  small  land  birds.  The 
wings  act  on  the  hinge  formed  by  the  carpal  joint,  opening  and  closing  like 
the  blades  of  scissors.  Their  sailings,  though  frequent,  are  not  extensive, 
and  their  tail  appears  to  be  of  great  service  to  them,  as  you  observe  that  on 
the  least  deviation  from  a  straight  course,  it  becomes  suddenly  more  or  less 
closed  or  inclined  upward,  downward,  or  sideways;  and  when  you  see  some 


|90  BANK  SWALLOW  OR  SAND  MARTIN. 

hundreds  of  pairs  about  their  breeding  places,  passing,  repassing,  and  cross- 
ing each  other  in  various  ways,  you  almost  wonder  that  they  never  come 
into  collision  with  each  other.  The  slightest  movement  in  any  direction 
seems  sufficient  to  enable  them  to  overtake  and  secure  their  prey;  and  they 
less  frequently  than  any  other  species  follow  an  insect  upward  to  any  great 
distance.     Like  all  other  Swallows,  they  drink  and  bathe  on  wing. 

Their  migrations  are  performed  by  day,  although  perhaps  continued  by 
night,  and  their  movements  are  more  desultory  and  rather  slower  than  those 
of  other  Swallows.  It  is  rare  to  observe  them  in  great  flocks  at  that  time, 
their  associations  not  being  apparently  formed  until  they  reach  the  countries 
in  which  they  spend  the  winter  months.  Their  flight,  when  they  are  thus 
travelling,  is  continued  rather  low  over  the  land  or  the  water;  and  as  in 
America  they  retire  to  a  less  distance  southward  than  our  other  Swallows, 
they  are  not  unfrequently  seen  to  linger  behind  the  rest.  In  South  Carolina, 
indeed,  I  have  seen  some  in  November. 

In  summer  and  autumn  they  roost  in  the  holes  excavated  for  their  nests; 
but  in  winter,  at  least  in  the  Floridas,  they  always  repose  at  night  among  the 
tall  grass  of  the  salt  marshes,  making  choice  of  situations  sheltered  by  the 
winds  and  not  liable  to  be  overflowed.  At  this  time  they  keep  together  in 
large  bodies  while  searching  for  food.  I  have  several  times  accidentally 
crossed  their  roosting  places,  which  I  at  once  recognised  by  the  quantity  of 
their  dung  attached  to  the  blades,  and  lying  on  the  ground,  and  from  which 
I  infer  that  they  rest  clinging  to  the  plants. 

At  the  first  appearance  of  spring  they  leave  their  winter  quarters  in  pairs, 
or  singly,  or  in  very  small  flocks;  but  they  follow  each  other  so  closely  in 
this  manner  as  to  form  an  almost  continued  line  of  march.  I  had  the  plea- 
sure of  observing  this  to  be  the  case  with  the  Barn  Swallow  also,  whilst  I 
was  proceeding  toward  the  Texas,  when  that  species  was  advancing  in  a  con- 
trary direction. 

Although  small,  the  Sand  Swallow  is  a  rather  hardy  bird;  for  I  observed 
that  the  transient  cold  weather  that  at  times  occurs  in  the  Floridas  at  night, 
seldom  forces  them  to  remove  farther  south.  On  one  occasion,  however, 
when  the  ice  was  about  the  thickness  of  a  dollar,  many  were  found  dead 
along  the  shores,  as  well  as  floating  on  the  water,  whilst  the  rest  appeared  in 
great  perturbation,  wending  their  way  in  a  hurried  manner  toward  the 
warmer  parts  of  the  country,  and  taking  advantage  of  every  spot  that  afford- 
ed them  more  warmth,  such  as  the  borders  of  woods,  and  high  banks  of 
streams.  I  am,  however,  of  opinion  that  the  inclemency  of  the  weather  at 
times  proves  to  be  the  greatest  evil  these  birds  have  to  encounter,  especially 
when  in  early  spring  they  are  moving  northward,  and  occasionally  meet  with 
a  sudden  change  from  temperate  to  cold.     Even  in   the  places  selected  for 


BANK  SWALLOW  OR  SAND  MARTIN.  191 

their  summer  residence,  great  numbers  die   in  their  holes,  and  many  have 
been  found  there  in  a  state  bordering  on  torpidity. 

Their  food,  which  consists  of  small  insects,  principally  of  the  hymenopterous 
kind,  even  during  winter  in  the  Floridas,  is  procured  on  wing.  They  very 
seldom  approach  walls  or  the  trunks  of  trees  to  seize  them,  but  frequently 
snatch  them  from  the  tops  of  grasses  or  other  plants  on  which  they  have 
alighted.  They  also  seize  small  aquatic  insects;  but,  although  I  suspect  that 
they  disgorge  in  pellets  the  harder  parts  of  these,  I  have  no  proof,  obtained 
from  actual  observation,  that  they  do  so. 

The  holes  perforated  by  this  species  for  the  purpose  of  breeding  require 
considerable  exertion  and  labour.  They  are  usually  bored  at  the  distance  of 
two  or  three  feet  from  the  summit  of  the  bank  or  surface  of  the  ground,  to 
the  depth  of  about  three  feet,  but  sometimes  to  that  of  four  or  even  five. 
They  are  near  each  other  or  remote,  according  to  the  number  of  pairs  of 
Swallows  that  resort  to  that  place,  and  the  extent  of  the  bank.  In  one  situa- 
tion you  may  find  not  more  than  a  dozen  pairs  at  work,  while  in  another 
several  hundreds  of  holes  may  be  seen  scattered  over  some  hundreds  of 
yards.  On  the  bluffs  of  the  Ohio  and  the  Mississippi  there  are  many  very 
extensive  breeding-places.  While  engaged  in  digging  a  sand-bank  on  the 
shore  of  the  Ohio,  at  Henderson,  for  the  purpose  of  erecting  a  steam-mill,  I 
was  both  amused  and  vexed  by  the  pertinacity  with  which  the  little  winged 
labourers  continued  to  bore  holes  day  after  day,  whilst  the  pickaxes  and 
shovels  demolished  them  in  succession.  The  birds  seemed  to  have  formed 
a  strong  attachment  to  the  place,  perhaps  on  account  of  the  fine  texture  of 
the  soil,  as  I  observed  many  who  had  begun  holes  a  few  hundred  yards  off 
abandon  them,  and  join  those  engaged  in  the  newly  opened  excavation. 
Whether  the  holes  are  frequently  bored  horizontally  or  not  I  cannot  say,  but 
many  which  I  examined  differed  in  this  respect  from  those  described  by 
authors,  for  on  introducing  a  gun-rod  or  other  straight  stick,  I  found  them  to 
have  an  inclination  of  about  ten  degrees  upwards.  The  end  of  the  hole  is 
enlarged  in  the  form  of  an  oven,  for  the  reception  of  the  nest,  and  the  accom- 
modation of  the  parents  and  their  brood. 

Wrhen  the  birds  have  for  awhile  examined  the  nature  of  the  bank,  they 
begin  their  work  by  alighting  against  it,  securing  themselves  by  the  claws, 
and  spreading  their  tails  considerably,  so  as,  by  being  pressed  against  the 
surface,  to  support  the  body.  The  bill  is  now  employed  in  picking  the  soil, 
until  a  space  large  enough  to  admit  the  body  of  the  bird  is  formed,  when  the 
feet  and  claws  are  also  used  in  scratching  out  the  sand.  I  have  thought  that 
the  slight  ascent  of  the  burrow  contributed  considerably  to  enable  the  bird 
to  perform  the  severe  task  of  disposing  of  the  loose  materials,  which  are  seen 
dropping  out  at  irregular  intervals.     Both  sexes  work  alternately,  in  the 


192  BANK  SWALLOW  OR  SAND  MARTIN. 

same  manner  as  Woodpeckers;  and  few  ornithological  occupations  have 
proved  more  pleasing  to  me  than  that  of  watching  several  hundred  pairs  of 
these  winged  artificers  all  busily  and  equally  engaged,  some  in  digging  the 
burrows,  others  in  obtaining  food,  which  they  would  now  and  then  bring  in 
their  bills  for  the  use  of  their  mates,  or  in  procuring  bits  of  dry  grass  or  large 
feathers  of  the  duck  or  goose,  for  the  construction  of  their  nests. 

So  industrious  are  the  little  creatures  that  I  have  known  a  hole  dug  to  the 
depth  of  three  feet  four  inches,  and  the  nest  finished,  in  four  days,  the  first 
egg  being  deposited  on  the  morning  of  the  fifth.  It  sometimes  happens  that 
soon  after  the  excavation  has  been  commenced,  some  obstruction  presents 
itself,  defying  the  utmost  exertions  of  the  birds;  in  which  case  they  abandon 
the  spot,  and  begin  elsewhere  in  the  neighbourhood.  If  these  obstructions 
occur  and  are  pretty  general,  the  colony  leave  the  place;  and  it  is  very 
seldom  that,  after  such  an  occurrence,  any  Swallows  of  this  species  are  seen 
near  it.  I  have  sometimes  been  surprised  to  see  them  bore  in  extremely 
loose  sand.  On  the  sea-coast,  where  soft  banks  are  frequent,  you  might  sup- 
pose that,  as  the  burrows  are  only  a  few  inches  apart,  the  sand  might  fall  in 
so  as  to  obstruct  the  holes  and  suffocate  their  inmates;  but  I  have  not  met 
with  an  instance  of  such  a  calamitous  occurrence.  Along  the  banks  of  small 
rivulets,  I  have  found  these  birds  having  nests  within  a  foot  or  two  of  the 
water,  having  been  bored  among  the  roots  of  some  large  trees,  where  I 
thought  they  were  exposed  to  mice,  rats,  or  other  small  predaceous  animals. 
The  nest  is  generally  formed  of  some  short  bits  of  dry  grass,  and  lined  with 
a  considerable  number  of  large  feathers.  They  lay  from  five  to  seven  eggs 
for  the  first  brood,  fewer  for  the  next.  They  are  of  an  ovate,  somewhat 
pointed  form,  pure  white,  eight-twelfths  of  an  inch  long,  and  six-twelfths  in 
breadth. 

The  young,  as  soon  as  they  are  able  to  move  with  ease,  often  crawl  to  the 
entrance  of  the  hole,  to  wait  the  return  of  their  parents  with  food.  On  such 
occasions  they  are  often  closely  watched  by  the  smaller  Hawks,  as  well  as 
the  common  Crows,  which  seize  and  devour  them,  in  spite  of  the  clamour  of 
the  old  birds.  These  depredations  upon  the  young  are  in  fact  continued 
after  they  have  left  the  nest,  and  while  they  are  perched  on  the  dry  twigs 
of  the  low  trees  in  the  neighbourhood,  until  they  are  perfectly  able  to  main- 
tain themselves  on  wing  without  the  assistance  of  their  parents. 

In  Louisiana,  or  in  any  district  where  this  species  raises  more  than  one 
brood  in  the  season,  the  males,  I  believe,  take  the  principal  charge  of  the 
young  that  have  left  the  nest,  though  both  sexes  alternately  incubate,  all  their 
moments  being  thus  rendered  full  of  care  and  anxiety  respecting  both  their 
offspring  and  the  sitting  bird.  The  young  acquire  the  full  brown  plumage 
of  the  adult  by  the  first  spring,  when  there  is  no  observable  difference  be- 


194  ROUGH-WINGED  SWALLOW. 

to  their  winter  quarters.  How  it  happened  I  cannot  now  recollect,  but  I 
thought  of  shooting  some  of  them,  perhaps  to  see  how  expert  I  might  prove 
on  other  occasions.  Off  went  a  shot,  and  down  came  one  of  the  birds,  which 
my  dog  brought  to  me  between  his  lips.  Another,  a  third,  a  fourth,  and  at 
last  a  fifth  were  procured.  The  ever-continuing  desire  of  comparing  one 
bird  with  another  led  me  to  take  them  up.  I  thought  them  rather  large, 
and  therefore  placed  them  in  my  bag,  and  proceeded  slowly  towards  the 
plantation  of  William  Perry,  Esq.,  with  whom  I  had  for  a  time  taken  up 
my  residence. 

The  bill  and  feet  of  the  Swallows  were  pure  black,  and  both,  I  thought, 
were  larger  than  in  the  Sand  Martin;  but  differences  like  these  I  seldom 
hold  in  much  estimation,  well  knowing  from  long  experience,  that  individuals 
of  any  species  may  vary  in  these  respects.  I  was  more  startled  when  I 
saw  not  a  vestige  of  the  short  feathers  usually  found  near  the  junction  of 
the  hind  toe  with  the  tarsus  in  the  common  species,  and  equally  so  when  I 
observed  that  the  bird  in  my  hand  had  a  nearly  even  tail,  with  broad  rounded 
feathers,  the  outer  destitute  of  the  narrow  margin  of  white.  At  this  time 
my  observations  went  no  farther. 

I  perhaps  should  never  have  discovered  the  differences  existing  between 
these  species  had  I  not  been  spurred  by  the  remarks  of  Vieillot,  who,  in 
expressing  his  doubts  as  to  their  identity,  and  perhaps  holding  in  his  hand 
the  bird  here  described,  says  that  the  tarsus  is  much  larger  than  in  the 
European  Sand  Martin.  I  have  been  surprised  that  these  doubts  did  not 
awaken  in  others  a  desire  to  inquire  into  the  subject.  Had  this  been  done, 
however,  I  should  probably  have  lost  an  opportunity  of  adding  another  new 
species  to  those  to  whose  nomination  I  can  lay  claim,  not  to  speak  of  such 
as,  although  well  known  to  me  previous  to  their  having  been  published  by 
others,  I  have  lost  the  right  of  naming  because  I  had  imparted  my  knowledge 
of  them  to  those  who  were  more  anxious  of  obtaining  this  sort  of  celebrity. 
I  have  now  in  my  possession  one  pair  of  these  Swallows  procured  by  myself 
in  South  Carolina  during  my  last  visit  to  that  State.  Of  their  peculiar  habits 
I  can  say  nothing;  but,  owing  to  their  being  less  frequent  than  the  Sand 
Martin,  I  am  inclined  to  believe  that  their  most  habitual  residence  may 
prove  to  be  far  to  the  westward,  perhaps  in  the  valleys  of  the  Columbia 
river. 

Rough-winged  Swallow,  Hirundo  serripennis,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  iv.  p.  593. 

Tail  slightly  emarginate,  margin  of  the  first  quill  rough  with  the  strong 
decurved  tips  of  the  filaments,  tarsus  bare;  upper  parts  greyish-brown,  lower 
pale  greyish-brown,  white  behind.     Very  nearly  allied  to  the  last  in  form 


n°h. 


PI  52. 


'wx/-  jfcu/ed'  <J%vcaZc>n&r</ 


<JsZcr>**U*rii<Zs\^/*4LJl4Z4z/%UJ. 


Drawn  fi-oin  Nnlurr  by  I  .1  Awiubon.F.H  S.TX.S, 


l.iih*  lViiiird  &Colf  bir  J  T  IWeu .Hiilari* 


N?H 


PI  53. 


tS^w//<x{."-£z/^/et/  *J%6ucaZz/ie&< 


Drawn  from  NHtnre  by  1  1  Audubon. KH  ST.l.  S 


l.iiha  IVinled  A  Coif  bv  J.T  Powtni  l'hibd* 


SWALLOW-TAILED  FLYCATCHER.  197 

cheeks  deep  black,  the  feathers  of  the  crown  bright  yellow  at  the  base;  back 
ash-grey,    rump    bluish-black;    wings    and   tail    brownish-black,    the   lateral 
feathers  of  the  latter  with  the   outer  web  white  for  half  its  length;  lower 
parts  white. 
Male,  141,  14. 

Gordonia  lasianthus,  Willd.,  Sp.  PL,  vol.  iii.  p.  480.     Pursh,  Fl.  Amer.  Sept.,  vol.  ii.  p. 

451. MoNODELPHIA  POLYANDRIA,  Linn. 

This  beautiful  small  tree  is  met  with  in  Georgia,  South  Carolina,  and  Florida, 
in  moist  lands  near  the  coast,  and  never  fails  to  attract  the  eye  by  its  beautiful 
blossoms.  The  twig  from  which  the  drawing  was  made  was  procured  from  the 
garden  of  Mr.  Noisette,  who  liberally  afforded  me  all  the  aid  in  his  power  for 
embellishing  my  plates.  The  leaves  are  evergreen,  lanceolato-oblong,  shining  and 
leathery;  the  flowers  white,  of  the  size  of  the  common  garden-rose,  and  placed  on 
long  peduncles;  the  capsules  conical  and  acuminate. 


SWALLOW -TAILED   FLYCATCHER. 

« 

-f-MiLvuLtis  forficatus,  Gmel. 

PLATE  LIIL— Male. 

Not  having  seen  this  handsome  bird  alive,  I  am  unable  to  give  you  any 
account  of  its  habits  from  my  own  observation;  but  I  have  pleasure  in  sup- 
plying the  deficiency  by  extracting  the  following  notice  from  the  "Manual 
of  the  Ornithology  of  the  United  States  and  of  Canada,"  by  my  excellent 
friend  Thomas  Nttttall. 

"This  very  beautiful  and  singular  species  of  Flycatcher  is  confined  wholly 
to  the  open  plains  and  scanty  forests  of  the  remote  south-western  regions 
beyond  the  Mississippi,  where  they,  in  all  probability,  extend  their  residence 
to  the  high  plains  of  Mexico.  I  found  these  birds  rather  common  near  the 
banks  of  Red  River,  about  the  confluence  of  the  Kiamesha.  I  again  saw 
them  more  abundant  near  the  Great  Salt  River  of -the  Arkansas,  in  the  month 
of  August,  when  the  young  and  old'  appeared,  like  our  King  Birds,  assem- 
bling together  previously  to  their  departure  for  the  south.  They  alighted 
repeatedly  on  the  tall  plants  of  the  prairie,  and  were  probably  preying  upon 


198  SWALLOW-TAILED  FLYCATCHER. 

the  grasshoppers,  which  were  now  abundant.  At  this  time  also,  they  were 
wholly  silent,  and  flitted  before  our  path  with  suspicion  and  timidity.  A 
week  or  two  after,  we  saw  them  no  more,  they  having  retired  probably  to 
tropical  winter-quarters. 

In  the  month  of  May,  a  pair,  which  I  daily  saw  for  three  or  four  weeks, 
had  made  a  nest  on  the  horizontal  branch  of  an  elm,  probably  twelve  or  more 
feet  from  the  ground.  I  did  not  examine  it  very  near,  but  it  appeared 
externally  composed  of  coarse  dry  grass.  The  female,  when  first  seen,  was 
engaged  in  sitting,  and  her  mate  wildly  attacked  every  bird  which  approach- 
ed their  residence.  The  harsh  chirping  note  of  the  male,  kept  up  at  inter- 
vals, as  remarked  by  Mr.  Sat,  almost  resembled  the  barking  of  the  Prairie 
Marmot,  ,tshi  'tsh,  'tsh.  His  flowing  kite-like  tail,  spread  or  contracted  at 
will  while  flying,  is  a  singular  trait  in  his  plumage,  and  rendered  him  con- 
spicuously beautiful  to  the  most  careless  observer." 

Swallow-tailed  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  forficata,  Bonap.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  i.  p.  15. 
Muscicapa  forficata,  Syn.,  p.  275. 

Swallow-tailed  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  forficata,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  275. 
Swallow-tailed  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  forficata,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  iv.   p.  426. 

Tail  longer  than  the  body;  upper  part  of  the  head,  cheeks,  and  hind  neck 
ash-grey;  back  brownish-grey,  rump  dusky;  anterior  wing-coverts  scarlet, 
quills  brownish-black,  tail-feathers  deep  black,  the  three  outer  on  each  side 
rose-coloured  to  near  the  end;  lower  parts  white  before,  rose-coloured  behind. 

Male,  11,  wing  5\. 


GExrs  II.— MUSCICAPA,  Linn.     FLYCATCHER. 

Bill  moderate,  or  rather  long,  stout,  straight,  broad  at  the  base,  gradually 
compressed  toward  the  end;  upper  mandible  with  the  dorsal  outline  sloping, 
the  edges  sharp  and  overlapping,  with  a  very  small  notch  close  to  the  small 
deflected  tip;  lower  mandible  with  the  ridge  very  broad  at  the  base,  the  sides 
rounded,  the  tip  minute  and  ascending.  Nostrils  basal,  roundish.  Head 
rather  large,  depressed;  neck  short;  body  rather  slender.  Feet  short;  tarsus 
very  short,  slender,  with  six  very  broad  scutella,  three  of  which  almost  meet 
behind;  toes  free,  the  hind  toe  large,  all  scutellate  above;  claws  rather  long, 
very  slender,  arched,  finely  pointed.  Plumage  soft  and  blended.  Wings 
long,  second  and  third  quills  longest;  outer  primaries  generally  attenuated  at 
the  end.     Tail  long,  even,  or  emarginate. 


200  ARKANSAW  FLYCATCHER. 

Upper  California,  I  have  not  been  able  to  find  the  nest,  which  is  probably- 
made  in  low  thickets,  where  it  would  be  consequently  easily  overlooked. 
In  the  Rocky  Mountains  they  do  not  probably  breed  before  midsummer,  as 
they  are  still  together  in  noisy  quarrelsome  bands  until  the  middle  of  June." 
Mr.  Townsend's  notice  respecting  it  is  as  follows:  "This  is  the  Chlow- 
ish-pil  of  the  Chinooks.  It  is  numerous  along  the  banks  of  the  Platte,  par- 
ticularly in  the  vicinity  of  trees  and  bushes.  It  is  found  also,  though  not  so 
abundantly,  across  the  whole  range  of  the  Rocky  Mountains;  and  along  the 
banks  of  the  Columbia  to  the  ocean,  it  is  a  very  common  species.  Its  voice 
is  much  more  musical  than  is  usual  with  birds  of  its  genus,  and  its  motions 
are  remarkably  quick  and  graceful.  Its  flight  is  often  long  sustained,  and 
like  the  Common  King  Bird,  with  which  it  associates,  it  is  frequently  seen 
to  rest  in  the  air,  maintaining  its  position  for  a  considerable  time.  The 
males  are  wonderfully  belligerent,  fighting  almost  constantly,  and  with  great 
fury,  and  their  loud  notes  of  anger  and  defiance  remind  one  strongly  of  the 
discordant  grating  and  creaking  of  a  rusty  door-hinge.  The  Indians  of  the 
Columbia  accuse  them  of  a  propensity  to  destroy  the  young,  and  eat  the  eggs 
of  other  birds. 

Tyrannus  verticalis,  Say,  Long's  Exped.,  vol.  ii.  p.  60. 

Arkansaw  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  verticalis,  Bonap.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  i.  p.  18. 

Muscicapa  verticalis,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  67. 

Arkansaw  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  verticalis,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  273. 

Arkansaw  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  verticalis,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  iv.  p.  422. 

The  outer  five  primaries  much  attenuated  toward  the  end,  the  first  more 
so,  the  fifth  least,  the  third  longest,  but  the  outer  four  nearly  equal;  tail 
almost  even.  Upper  parts  ash-grey,  the  back  tinged  with  yellow;  a  patch  of 
bright  vermilion  on  the  top  of  the  head;  wing-coverts  and  quills  chocolate- 
brown;  upper  tail-coverts  and  tail  black,  the  outer  web  of  the  lateral  feathers 
yellowish-white;  throat  greyish-white,  sides  and  fore  part  of  neck  ash-grey, 
the  rest  of  the  lower  parts  pure  yellow.     Female  similar. 

Male,  9,  lo£. 


201 


THE   PIPIRY   FLYCATCHER. 

■^-Muscicapa  dominicensis,  Briss. 

PLATE  L V.— Male. 

Haying  landed  on  one  of  the  Florida  Keys,  I  scarcely  had  time  to  cast  a 
glance  over  the  diversified  vegetation  which  presented  itself,  when  I  observ- 
ed a  pair  of  birds  mounting  perpendicularly  in  the  air,  twittering  with  a 
shrill  continued  note  new  to  me.  The  country  itself  was  new:  it  was  what 
my  mind  had  a  thousand  times  before  conceived  a  tropical  scene  to  be.  As 
I  walked  over  many  plants,  curious  and  highly  interesting  to  me,  my  sensa- 
tions were  joyous  in  the  highest  degree,  for  I  saw  that  in  a  few  moments  I 
should  possess  a  new  subject,  on  which  I  could  look  with  delight,  as  one  of 
the  great  Creator's  marvellous  works. 

I  was  on  one  of  those  yet  unknown  islets,  which  the  foot  of  man  has  sel- 
dom pressed.  A  Flycatcher  unknown  to  me  had  already  presented  itself, 
and'the  cooing  of  a  Dove  never  before  heard  came  on  my  ear.  I  felt  some  of 
that  pride,  which  doubtless  pervades  the  breast  of  the  discoverer  of  some 
hitherto  unknown  land.  Although  desirous  of  obtaining;  the  birds  before 
me,  I  had  no  wish  to  shoot  them  at  that  moment.  My  gun  lay  loosely  on 
my  arms,  my  eyes  were  rivetted  on  the  Flycatcher,  my  ears  open  to  the 
soft  notes  of  the  Dove.  Reader,  such  are  the  moments,  amid  days  of  toil  and 
discomfort,  that  compensate  for  every  privation.  It  is  on  such  occasions  that 
the  traveller  feels  most  convinced,  that  the  farther  he  proceeds,  the  better 
will  be  his  opportunities  of  observing  the  results  of  the  Divine  conception. 
What  else,  I  would  ask  of  you,  can  be  more  gratifying  to  the  human  intel- 
lect! 

Delighted  and  amused,  I  stood  for  awhile  contemplating  the  beautiful 
world  that  surrounded  me,  and  from  which  man  would  scarcely  retire  with 
willingness,  had  not  the  Almighty  ordained  it  otherwise.  But  action  had 
now  to  succeed,  and  I  quickly  procured  some  of  the  Flycatchers.  Their 
habits  too,  I  subsequently  studied  for  weeks  in  succession,  and  the  result  of 
my  observations  I  now  lay  before  you. 

About  the  1st  of  April,  this  species  reaches  the  Florida  Keys,  and  spreads 
over  the  whole  of  them,  as  far  as  Cape  Florida,  or  perhaps  somewhat  farther 
along  the  eastern  coast  of  the  Peninsula.  It  comes  from  Cuba,  where  the 
species  is  said  to  be  rather  abundant,  as  well  as  in  the  other  West  India 
Islands.     Its  whole  demeanour  so  much  resembles  that  of  the  Tyrant  Fly- 

Vol.  I.  30 


202  THE  PIPIRY  FLYCATCHER. 

catcher,  that  were  it  not  for  its  greater  size,  and  the  difference  of  its  notes, 
it  might  be  mistaken  for  that  bird,  as  I  think  it  has  been  on  former  occasions 
by  travellers  less  intent  than  I  on  distinguishing  species.  At  the  season 
when  I  visited  the  Floridas,  there  was  not  a  Key  ever  so  small  without  at 
least  a  pair  of  them. 

Their  flight  is  performed  by  a  constant  flutter  of  the  wings,  unless  when 
the  bird  is  in  chase,  or  has  been  rendered  shy,  when  it  exhibits  a  power  and 
speed  equal  to  those  of  any  other  species  of  the  genus.  During  the  love 
season,  the  male  and  female  are  seen  rising  from  a  dry  twig  together,  either 
perpendicularly,  or  in  a  spiral  manner,  crossing  each  other  as  they  ascend, 
twittering  loudly,  and  conducting  themselves  in  a  manner  much  resembling 
that  of  the  Tyrant  Flycatcher.  When  in  pursuit  of  insects,  they  dart  at 
them  with  great  velocity.  Should  any  large  bird  pass  near  their  stand,  they 
immediately  pursue  it,  sometimes  to  a  considerable  distance.  I  have  seen 
them,  after  teasing  a  Heron  or  Fish  Crow,  follow  them  nearly  half  a  mile, 
and  return  exulting  to  the  tree  on  which  they  had  previously  been  perched. 
Yet  I  frequently  observed  that  the  approach  of  a  White-headed  Pigeon  or 
Zenaida  Dove,  never  ruffled  their  temper.  To  the  Grakles  they  were  par- 
ticularly hostile,  and  on  all  occasions  drove  them  away  from  their  stand,  or 
the  vicinity  of  their  nest,  with  unremitting  perseverance.  The  reason  in 
this  case,  and  in  that  of  the  Fish  Crow,  was  obvious,  for  these  birds  sucked 
their  eggs  or  destroyed  their  young  whenever  an  opportunity  occurred. 
This  was  also  the  case  with  the  Mangrove  Cuckoo. 

This  species  is  careless  of  the  approach  of  man,  probably  because  it  is 
seldom  disturbed  by  him.  I  have  been  so  near  some  of  them  as  to  see  dis- 
tinctly the  colour  of  their  eyes.  No  sooner,  however,  had  it  begun  to  build 
its  nest,  than  it  flew  about  me  or  my  companions,  as  if  much  exasperated  at 
our  being  near,  frequently  snapping  its  beak  with  force,  and  in  various  ways 
loudly  intimating  its  disapprobation  of  our  conduct.  Then,  as  if  we  retired 
from  the  neighbourhood  of  its  nest,  it  flew  upwards,  chattering  notes  of  joy. 

They  fix  their  nest  somewhat  in  the  manner  of  the  King  Bird,  that  is,  on 
horizontal  branches,  or  in  the  large  fork  of  a  mangrove,  or  bush  of  any  other 
species,  without  paying  much  attention  to  its  position,  with  respect  to  the 
water,  but  with  very  singular  care  to  place  it  on  the  western  side  of  the 
tree,  or  of  the  islet.  I  found  it  sometimes  not  more  than  two  feet  above 
high  water,  and  at  other  times  twenty.  It  is  composed  externally  of  light 
dry  sticks,  internally  of  a  thin  layer  of  slender  grasses  or  fibrous  roots,  and 
has  some  resemblance  to  that  of  the  Carolina  Pigeon  in  this  respect  that, 
from  beneath,  I  could  easil)T  see  the  eggs  through  it.  These  were  regularly 
four  in  all  the  nests  that  I  saw,  of  a  white  colour,  with  man)'  dots  towards 


N°n. 


P1.55. 


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THE  TYRANT  FLYCATCHER.-KING  BIRD.  207 

large  rivers  and  lakes,  sailing  and  dashing  about  in  pursuit  of  insects.  Again, 
gliding  down  towards  the  water,  he  drinks  in  the  manner  of  various  species 
of  Swallow.  When  the  weather  is  very  warm,  he  plunges  repeatedly  into 
the  water,  alights  after  each  plunge  on  the  low  branch  of  a  tree  close  by, 
shakes  off  the  water  and  plumes  himself,  when,  perceiving  some  individuals 
of  his  tribe  passing  high  over  head,  he  ascends  to  overtake  them,  and  bidding 
adieu  to  the  country,  proceeds  towards  a  warmer  region. 

The  King  Bird  leaves  the  Middle  States  earlier  than  most  other  species. 
While  migrating  southwards,  at  the  approach  of  winter,  it  flies  with  a  strong 
and  continued  motion,  flapping  its  wings  six  or  seven  times  pretty  rapidly, 
and  sailing  for  a  few  yards  without  any  undulations,  at  every  cessation  of  the 
flappings.  On  the  first  days  of  September,  I  have  several  times  observed 
them  passing  in  this  manner,  in  detached  parties  of  twenty  or  thirty,  perfect- 
ly silent,  and  so  resembling  the  Turdus  migratorius  in  their  mode  of  flight, 
as  to  induce  the  looker-on  to  suppose  them  of  that  species,  until  he  recog- 
nises them  by  their  inferior  size.  Their  flight  is  continued  through  the 
night,  and  by  the  1st  of  October  none  are  to  be  found  in  the  Middle  States. 
The  young  acquire  the  full  colouring  of  their  plumage  before  they  leave  us 
for  the  south. 

The  flesh  of  this  bird  is  delicate  and  savoury.  Many  are  shot  along  the 
Mississippi,  not  because  these  birds  eat  bees,  but  because  the  French  of 
Louisiana  are  fond  of  bee-eaters.  I  have  seen  some  of  these  birds  that  had 
the  shafts  of  the  tail-feathers  reaching  a  quarter  of  an  inch  beyond  the  end  of 
the  webs. 

This  bold  Flycatcher  is  not  satisfied  with  ranging  throughout  the  United 
States,  but  extends  its  migrations  across  the  continent  to  the  Columbia  River, 
and,  according  to  Dr.  Richardson,  northward  as  far  as  the  57th  parallel, 
where  it  breeds,  arriving  in  May,  and  departing  in  the  beginning  of  Septem- 
ber. I  have  found  it  breeding  in  the  Texas,  on  the  one  hand,  in  Labrador 
on  the  other,  and  in  all  intervening  districts,  excepting  the  Florida  Keys, 
where  it  is  represented  by  the  Pipiry  Flycatcher.  I  have  never  seen  it  dive 
after  fish,  or  even  after  aquatic  insects,  although,  as  I  have  already  mention- 
ed, it  throws  itself  into  the  water  for  the  purpose  of  bathing;  nor  have  re- 
mains of  fishes  been  found  in  its  stomach  or  gullet.  Like  all  Flycatchers,  it 
disgorges  the  harder  parts  of  insects. 

How  wonderful  is  it  that  this  bird  should  be  found  breeding  over  so  vast 
an  extent  of  country,  and  yet  retire  southward  of  the  Texas,  to  spend  a  very 
short  part  of  the  winter!  Some,  however,  remain  then  in  the  southern  por- 
tions of  the  Floridas.  The  eggs  measure  rather  more  than  an  inch  in  length, 
and  six  and  a  half  eighths  in  breadth;  they  are  broadly  rounded  at  the  larger 
end,  the  other  being  suddenly  brought  to  a  sharpish  conical  point. 


208  THE  TYRANT  FLYCATCHER -KING  BIRD. 

This  bird  has  the  mouth  wide,  the  palate  flat,  with  two  longitudinal  ridges, 
its  anterior  part  horny,  and  concave,  with  a  median  and  two  slight  lateral 
prominent  lines;  the  posterior  aperture  of  the  nares  oblongo-linear,  papillate, 
A\  twelfths  long.  The  tongue  is  six-twelfths  long,  triangular,  very  thin, 
sagittate  and  papillate  at  the  base,  flat  above,  pointed,  but  a  little  slit,  and 
with  the  edges  slightly  lacerated.  The  oesophagus  is  2\  inches  long,  with- 
out dilatation,  of  the  uniform  width  of  3  twelfths,  and  extremely  thin;  the 
proventriculus  3j  twelfths  across.  The  stomach  is  rather  large,  broadly  el- 
liptical, considerably  compressed;  its  lateral  muscles  strong,  the  lower  thin, 
its  length  10  twelfths,  its  breadth  8  twelfths,  its  tendons  A\  twelfths  in 
breadth;  the  epithelium  thin,  tough,  longitudinally  rugous,  reddish-brown. 
The  stomach  filled  with  remains  of  insects.  The  intestine  is  short  and  wide, 
7  inches  long,  its  width  at  the  upper  part  4  twelfths,  at  the  lower  2  twelfths. 
The  coeca  are  2  twelfths  long,  \  twelfth  in  breadth,  and  placed  at  an  inch  and 
a  half  from  the  extremity.  The  rectum  gradually  dilates  into  the  cloaca, 
which  is  G  twelfths  in  width. 

The  trachea  is  2  inches  2  twelfths  long,  considerably  flattened,  2\  twelfths 
broad  at  the  upper  part,  gradually  contracting  to  \\  twelfths;  its  rings  56, 
firm,  with  2  dimidiate  rings.  It  is  remarkable  that  in  this  and  the  other 
Flycatchers,  there  is  no  bone  of  divarication,  or  ring  divided  by  a  partition; 
but  two  of  the  rings  are  slit  behind,  and  the  last  two  both  behind  and  before. 
Bronchial  rings  about  15.  The  lateral  muscles  are  slender,  but  at  the  lower 
part  expand  so  as  to  cover  the  front  of  the  trachea,  and  running  down,  termi- 
nate on  the  dimidiate  rings,  so  that  on  each  side  of  the  inferior  larynx  there 
is  a  short  thick  mass  of  muscular  fibres,  which  are  scarcely  capable  of  being 
divided  into  distinct  portions,  although  three  pairs  may  be  in  some  degree 
traced,  an  anterior,  a  middle,  and  a  posterior.  These  muscles  are  similarly 
formed  in  all  the  other  birds  of  this  family  the  Muscicapinas,  described  in 
this  work. 


Lanius  Tyrannus,  Linn.  Syst.  Nat.,  vol.  i.  p.  136. 

Tyrant  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  tyrannus,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  i.  p.  6G. 

Muscicapa  Tvrannus,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  66. 

King-bird  or  Tyrant  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  tyrannus,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  265. 

Tyrant  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  tyrannus,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  i.  p.  403;  vol.  v.  p.  420. 

The  outer  two  primaries  attenuated  at  the  end,  the  second  longest,  the 
first  longer  than  the  third;  tail  even.  Upper  parts  dark  bluish-grey;  the 
head  greyish-black,  with  a  bright  vermilion  patch  margined  with  yellow; 
quills,  coverts,  and  tail  feathers  brownish-black,  the  former  margined  with 
dull  white,  the  latter  largely  tipped  with  white;  lower  parts  greyish-white; 


THE  GREAT-CRESTED  FLYCATCHER.  209 

the  breast  pale  grey.  Female  duller;  the  upper  parts  tinged  with  brown; 
the  lower  more  dusky. 

Male,  8|,  14-|-. 

North  America  generally.  Migratory.  A  few  winter  in  the  south  of 
Florida. 

The  Cotton-wood. 

Popclus  candicans,  Willd.,  Sp.  PL,  vol.  iv.  p.  806.  Pursh.,  Fl.  Araer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  618. 
Mich.,  Arbr.  Forest,  de  l'Anier.  Sept.,  vol.  iii.  pi.  13. — Dkecia  octandria,  Linn. — 
Amentace^e,  Juss. 

This  species  of  Poplar  is  distinguished  by  its  broadly  cordate,  acuminate,  un- 
equally and  obtusely  serrated  venous  leaves,  hairy  petioles,  resinous  buds,  and 
round  twigs.  The  leaves  are  dark  green  above,  whitish  beneath.  The  resinous 
substance  with  which  the  buds  are  covered  has  an  agreeable  smell.  The  bark  is 
smooth,  of  a  greenish  tint. 


THE  GREAT   CRESTED   FLYCATCHER. 
■    Muscicapa  ceinita,  Linn. 

PLATE  LVIL— Male. 

How  often  whilst  gazing  on  the  nest  of  a  bird,  admiring  the  beauty  of  its 
structure,  or  wondering  at  the  skill  displayed  in  securing  it  from  danger, 
have  I  been  led  to  question  myself  why  there  is  often  so  much  difference  in 
the  conformation  and  materials  of  the  nests  of  even  the  same  species,  in  dif- 
ferent latitudes  or  localities.  How  often,  too,  while  admiring  the  bird  itself, 
have  I  in  vain  tried  to  discover  the  causes  why  more  mental  and  corporeal 
hardihood  should  have  been  granted  to  certain  individuals,  which  although 
small  and  seemingly  more  delicate  than  others,  are  wont  to  force  their  way, 
and  that  an  early  season,  quite  across  the  whole  extent  of  the  United  States; 
while  some,  of  greater  bodily  magnitude,  equal  powers  of  flight,  and  similar 
courage,  never  reach  so  far,  in  fact  merely  enter  our  country  or  confine  their 
journeys  to  half  the  distance  to  which  the  others  reach.  The  diminutive 
Ruby-throated  Humming-bird,  the  delicate  Winter  Wren,  and  many  war- 
blers, all  birds  of  comparatively  short  flight,  are  seen  to  push  their  way  from 
the  West  India  Islands,  or  the  table-lands  of  Mexico  and  South  America, 

Vol.  I.  32 


210  THE  GREAT  CRESTED  FLYCATCHER. 

farther  north  than  our  boundary  lines,  before  they  reach  certain  localities, 
which  we  cannot  look  upon  but  as  being  the  favourite  places  of  rendezvous 
allotted  to  these  beings  for  their  summer  abode. 

How  wonderful  have  I  thought  it  that  all  birds  which  migrate  are  not 
equally  privileged.  Why  do  not  the  Turkey-Buzzard,  the  Fork-tailed 
Hawk,  and  many  others  possessing  remarkable  ease  and  power  of  flight,  visit 
the  same  places?  There  the  Vulture  would  find  its  favourite  carrion  during 
the  heat  of  the  dog-days,  and  the  Hawk  abundance  of  insects.  Why  do  not 
the  Pigeons  found  in  the  south  ever  visit  the  State  of  Maine,  when  one 
species,  the  Columba  migratoria,  is  permitted  to  ramble  over  the  whole 
extent  of  our  vast  country?  And  why  does  the  small  Pewee  go  so  far  north, 
accompanied  by  the  Tyrant  Flycatcher;  while  the  Titirit,  larger  and  stronger 
than  either,  remains  in  the  Floridas  and  Carolinas,  and  the  Great  Crested 
Flycatcher,  the  bird  now  before  you,  seldom  travels  farther  east  than  Con- 
necticut?    Reader,  can  you  assist  me? 

The  places  chosen  by  the  Great  Crested  Flycatcher  for  its  nest  are  so 
peculiar,  and  the  composition  of  its  fabric  is  so  very  different  from  that  of  all 
others  of  the  genus  with  which  I  am  acquainted,  that  perhaps  no  one  on 
seeing  it  for  the  first  time,  would  imagine  it  to  belong  to  a  Flycatcher. 
There  is  nothing  of  the  elegance  of  some,  or  of  the  curious  texture  of  others, 
displayed  in  it.  Unlike  its  kinsfolk,  it  is  contented  to  seek  a  retreat  in  the 
decayed  part  of  a  tree,  of  a  fence-rail,  or  even  of  a  prostrate  log  mouldering 
on  the  ground.  I  have  found  it  placed  in  a  short  stump  at  the  bottom  of  a 
ravine,  where  the  tracks  of  racoons  were  as  close  together  as  those  of  a  flock 
of  sheep  in  a  fold,  and  again  in  the  lowest  fence-rail,  where  the  black  snake 
could  have  entered  it,  sucked  the  eggs  or  swallowed  the  young  with  more 
ease  than  by  ascending  to  some  large  branches  of  a  tree  forty  feet  from  the 
ground,  where  after  all  the  reptile  not  unfrequently  searches  for  such  dain- 
ties. In  all  those  situations,  our  bird  seeks  a  place  for  its  nest,  which  is 
composed  of  more  or  fewer  materials,  as  the  urgency  may  require,  and  I 
have  observed  that  in  the  nests  nearest  the  ground,  the  greatest  quantity  of 
grass,  fibrous  roots,  feathers,  hair  of  different  quadrupeds,  and  exuviae  of 
snakes  was  accumulated.  The  nest  is  at  all  times  a  loose  mass  under  the 
above  circumstances.  Sometimes,  when  at  a  great  height,  very  few  mate- 
rials are  used,  and  in  more  than  one  instance  I  found  the  eggs  merely  de- 
posited on  the  decaying  particles  of  the  wood,  at  the  bottom  of  a  hole  in  a 
broken  branch  of  a  tree,  sometimes  of  one  that  had  been  worked  out  by  the 
grey-squirrel.  The  eggs  are  from  four  to  six,  of  a  pale  cream  colour,  thick- 
ly streaked  with  deep  purplish-brown  of  different  tints,  and,  I  believe,  sel- 
dom more  than  a  single  brood  is  raised  in  the  season. 

The  Great  Crested  Flycatcher  arrives  in  Louisiana  and  the  adjacent  coun- 


N '.'  12 


P1.57 


Sfi.if- 


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UiM  Pi-mlcd  ftcdtfby  JTBowenrMad' 


COOPER'S  FLYCATCHER-OLIVE-SIDED  FLYCATCHER.       215 

both;  that  is  to  say,  a  yellowish  cream-white,  with  spots  of  reddish-brown, 
of  a  light  and  dark  shade.  All  the  nests,  three  in  number,  were  within  150 
yards  of  each  other  respectively.  I  saw  another  pair  once  in  a  small  piece 
of  dry  pine  wood  in  Mount  Auburn  one  year;  but  they  did  not  stay  long. 
A  third  pair  I  saw  the  summer  before  the  last,  on  the  edge  of  the  marsh  to- 
wards West  Cambridge  Pond;  these  appeared  resident.  The  next  pair  I  had 
the  rare  good  fortune  to  see  in  your  company,  by  which  means  they  have 
been  masterly  figured.  It  is  beyond  a  doubt  M.  borealis  of  Richardson, 
but  I  believe  Mr.  Cooper  and  myself  discovered  it  previously,  at  least  be- 
fore the  appearance  of  Dr.  Richardson's  Northern  Zoology." 

In  the  course  of  my  journey  farther  eastward,  I  found  this  species  here  and 
there  in  Massachusetts  and  the  state  of  Maine,  as  far  as  Mars  Hill,  and  sub- 
sequently on  the  Magdeleine  Islands,  and  the  coast  of  Labrador;  but  I  have 
not  yet  been  able  to  discover  its  line  of  migration,  or  the  time  of  its  arrival 
in  the  Southern  States. 

This  species  has  never  been  observed  in  South  Carolina,  although  I  met 
with  it  in  Georgia,  as  well  as  in  the  Texas,  in  the  month  of  April.  Accord- 
ing to  Mr.  Nuttall,  it  is  "a  common  inhabitant  of  the  dark  fir  woods  of 
the  Columbia,  where  they  arrive  towards  the  close  of  May.  We  again 
heard,"  he  continues,  "at  intervals,  the  same  curious  call,  like  'gh-phebea, 
and  sometimes  like  the  guttural  sound  of  p  h  p-phebee,  commencing  with  a 
sort  of  suppressed  chuck;  at  other  times  the  notes  varied  into  a  lively  and 
sometimes  quick  p  t-petoway.  This  no  doubt  is  the  note  which  Wilson 
attributed  to  the  Wood  Pewee.  When  approached,  as  usual,  or  when  calling, 
we  heard  the  pit  pu  pu."  A  single  specimen  was  shot  on  the  banks  of  the 
Saskatchewan,  and  has  been  described  in  the  Fauna  Boreali-Americana  under 
the  name  of  Tyrannus  borealis. 

Dr.  Brewer  has  sent  me  the  following  note: — "A  female  specimen  ob- 
tained by  me  measures  6-|  inches  in  length,  being  fully  half  an  inch  shorter 
than  the  male.  Nape  of  the  neck,  belly,  vent,  throat,  and  flanks  white;  in 
the  latter,  continued  to  the  back,  so  as  to  be  visible  above  the  fold  of  the 
wings;  a  broad  olive  band  across  the  breast;  in  all  other  respects  it  resembles 
the  male.  A  nest,  which  I  have  examined,  measures  five  inches  in  external 
diameter,  and  three  and  a  half  inches  in  internal,  and  is  about  half  an  inch 
deep.  It  is  composed  entirely  of  roots  and  fibres  of  moss.  It  is,  moreover, 
very  rudely  constructed,  and  is  almost  wholly  flat,  resembling  the  nest  of 
no  other  Flycatcher  I  have  seen,  but  having  some  similitude  to  that  of  the 
Cuckoo. 


•>•> 


Olive-sided  Flycatcher  or  Pe-pe,  Muscicapa  Cooperi,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  282. 
Tyrannus  borealis,  Northern  Tyrant,  Swains,  and  Rich.  F.  Bor.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  141. 
Olive-sided  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  Cooperi,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  ii.  p.  422;  vol.  v.  p.  422. 


216       COOPER'S  FLYCATCHER— OLIVE-SIDED  FLYCATCHER. 

Wing  pointed,  second  quill  longest,  first  longer  than  third,  tail  emarginate, 
the  three  first  primaries  very  slightly  attenuated  at  the  ends;  upper  parts, 
cheeks,  and  sides  of  the  neck,  dusky  brown,  tinged  with  greyish-olive,  the 
head  darker;  quills  and  tail  blackish-brown,  the  secondaries  margined  with 
brownish-white;  downy  feathers  on  the  sides  of  the  rump  white;  lower  parts 
greyish-white,  the  sides  dusky  grey.     Young  similar  to  adult. 

Male,  7-i-,  12f. 

From  Texas  northward  along  the  -Atlantic.  Never  seen  far  in  the  interior. 
Columbia  River.     Migratory. 

The  Balsam  or  Silver  Fir. 

Pin0s  balsamea,  Willd.,  Sp.  PL,  vol.  iv.  p.  504.     Pursh.,  Fl.  Amer.  Sept.,  vol.  ii.  p.  639. 
Abies  balsamifera,  Mich.,  Fl.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  207. — Moncecia  Monadelphia,  Linn. 

CoNIFEfLE,  JuSS. 

This  beautiful  fir  is  abundant  in  the  State  of  Maine,  where  I  made  a  draw- 
ing of  the  twig  before  you.  It  grows  on  elevated  rocky  ground,  often  near 
streams  or  rivers.  Its  general  form  is  conical,  the  lower  branches  coming 
off  horizontally  near  the  ground,  and  the  succeeding  ones  becoming  gradually 
more  oblique,  until  the  uppermost  are  nearly  erect.  The  leaves  and  cones 
become  so  resinous  in  autumn,  that,  in  climbing  one  of  these  trees,  a  person 
is  besmeared  with  the  excreted  juice,  which  is  then  white,  transparent,  and 
almost  fluid.  The  leaves  are  solitary,  flat,  emarginate,  or  entire,  bright  green 
above,  and  glaucous  or  silvery  beneath;  the  cones  cylindrical,  erect,  with 
short  obovate,  serrulate,  mucronate  scales.  It  is  abundant  in  the  British 
provinces,  the  Northern  States,  and  in  the  higher  parts  of  the  Alleghany 
Mountains.  The  height  does  not  exceed  fifty  feet.  The  bark  is  smooth, 
the  wood  light  and  resinous.  The  resin  is  collected  and  sold  under  the 
names  of  Balm  of  Gilead  and  Canada  Balsam. 


BW2. 


P1.59. 


t  J 


1.  ^tfale. 2Female. 


Drawn  from  Nature  by  J  J  Audubon  T.K  S.r'.L  S 


l.iili '  fi'imed  *Colfb«  J  1'  B»weB.WI»a' 


:isr0:n 


PI  60. 


MK6M>C<Z£M/t 


6C&tCU4 


loliirc  I,,    i  l$Wlnb(Hi.KK.S.l-'.L.S. 


LidifPfinied  *Coli?by  J.T.Mowm  1'bilod" 


NU3 


H.61. 


JLtf 


*JSn/??"l/-  /f*7£/€j//  '^yf/l/YU^ 


Mah- 


";:  \.ii ■  ■■•■  l/v  i  i  nuituhori  V.M  si'  I.  S. 


■■....■     i      .    ■ . 


222         SMALL  GREEN  CRESTED  FLYCATCHER. 

Early  in  May,  in  our  Middle  Districts,  the  Small  Green  Crested  Fly- 
catcher constructs  its  nest,  which  varies  considerably  in  different  parts  of  the 
country,  being  made  warmer  in  the  northern  localities,  where  it  breeds 
almost  a  month  later.  It  is  generally  placed  in  the  darkest  shade  of  the 
woods,  in  the  upright  forks  of  some  middle-sized  tree,  from  eight  to  twenty 
feet  above  the  ground,  sometimes  so  low  as  to  allow  a  man  to  look  into  it. 
In  some  instances  I  have  found  it  on  the  large  horizontal  branches  of  an  oak, 
when  it  looked  like  a  knot.  It  is  always  neat  and  well-finished,  the  inside 
measuring  about  two  inches  in  diameter,  with  a  depth  of  an  inch  and  a  half. 
The  exterior  is  composed  of  stripes  of  the  inner  bark  of  various  trees,  vine 
fibres  and  grasses,  matted  together  with  the  down  of  plants,  wool,  and  soft 
moss.  The  lining  consists  of  fine  grass,  a  few  feathers,  and  horse  hair.  The 
whole  is  light,  elastic,  and  firmly  coherent,  and  is  glued  to  the  twigs  or 
saddled  on  the  branch  with  great  care.  The  eggs  are  from  four  to  six,  small, 
and  pure  white.  While  the  female  is  sitting,  the  male  often  emits  a  scolding 
chirr  of  defiance,  and  rarely  wanders  far  from  the  nest,  but  relieves  his  mate 
at  intervals.  In  the  Middle  States  they  often  have  two  broods  in  the  season, 
but  in  Maine  or  farther  north  only  one.  The  young  follow  their  parents  in 
the  most  social  manner;  but  before  these  birds  leave  us  entirely,  the  old  and 
the  young  form  different  parties,  and  travel  in  small  groups  towards  warmer 
regions. 

I  have  thought  that  this  species  throws  up  pellets  more,  frequently  than 
most  others.  Its  food  consists  of  insects  during  spring  and  summer,  such  as 
moths,  wild  bees,  butterflies,  and  a  variety  of  smaller  kinds;  but  in  autumn 
it  greedily  devours  berries  and  small  grapes.  Although  not  shy  with  respect 
to  man,  it  takes  particular  notice  of  quadrupeds,  following  a  minx  or  polecat 
to  a  considerable  distance,  with  every  manifestation  of  anger.  The  mutual 
affection  of  the  male  and  female,  and  their  solicitude  respecting  their  eggs  or 
young,  are  quite  admirable. 

The  flight  of  the  Small  Green  Flycatcher  is  performed  by  short  glidings, 
supported  by  protracted  flaps  of  the  wings,  not  unlike  those  of  the  Pewee 
Flycatcher;  and  it  is  often  seen,  while  passing  low  through  the  woods  or  fol- 
lowing the  margins  of  a  creek,  to  drink  in  the  manner  of  Swallows,  or  sweep 
after  its  prey,  until  it  alights.  Like  the  King-bird,  it  always  migrates  by 
day. 

Small  Green  Crested  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  querula,  Wils.  Araer.  Om.,  vol.  ii.  p.  77. 
Small  Pewee,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  288. 
Muscicapa  acadica,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  G8. 

Small  Green  Crested  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa  acadica,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  ii.  p.  256; 
vol.  v.  p.  427. 


THE  PEWEE  FLYCATCHER.  223 

Bill  broad  and  much  depressed;  second  quill  longest,  third  a  little  shorter, 
first  shorter  than  fourth;  tail  scarcely  emarginate,  upper  parts  dull  greenish- 
olive,  the  head  darker;  wings  and  tail  dusky-brown;  two  bands  of  dull  pale 
yellow  on  the  wing,  the  secondary  quills  broadly  edged  and  tipped  with  the 
same;  a  narrow  ring  of  yellowish- white  round  the  eye;  throat  greyish-white; 
sides  of  neck  and  fore  part  of  breast  greyish-olive,  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts 
yellowish-white. 

Male,  51,  81 

From  Texas  northward.     Migratory. 

Sassafras. 

Laurus  sassafras,  Willd.  Sp.  PL,  vol.  ii.  p.  485.    Pursh,  Fl.  Amer.  Sept.,  vol.  i.  p.  277. 
— Enneandria  Monogynia,  Linn.     Lauri,  Juss. 

The  Sassafras  grows  on  almost-  every  kind  of  soil  in  the  Southern  and 
Western  States,  where  it  is  of  common  occurrence.  Along  the  Atlantic 
States  it  extends  as  far  as  New  Hampshire,  and  still  farther  north  in  the 
western  country.  The  beauty  of  its  foliage  and  its  medicinal  properties  ren- 
der it  one  of  our  most  interesting  trees.  It  attains  a  height  of  fifty  or  sixty 
feet,  with  a  proportionate  diameter.  The  leaves  are  alternate,  petiolate,  oval, 
and  undivided,  or  three-lobed.  The  flowers,  which  appear  before  the  leaves, 
are  of  a  greenish-yellow  colour,  and  the  berries  are  of  an  oval  form  and 
bluish-black  tint,  supported  on  cups  of  a  bright  red,  having  long  filiform  pe- 
duncles.. 


THE   PEWEE   FLYCATCHER. 

^-Muscicapa  fusca,  Gmel. 

PLATE  LXIIL— Male  and  Female. 

Connected  with  the  biography  of  this  bird  are  so  many  incidents  relative 
to  my  own,  that  could  I  with  propriety  deviate  from  my  proposed  method, 
the  present  number  would  contain  less  of  the  habits  of  birds  than  of  those  of 
the  youthful  days  of  an  American  woodsman.  While  young,  I  had  a  planta- 
tion that  lay  on  the  sloping  declivities  of  the  Perkiomen  Creek.  I  was  ex- 
tremely fond  of  rambling  along  its  rocky  banks,  for  it  would  have  been  diffi- 
cult to  do  so  either  without  meeting  with  a  sweet  flower,  spreading  open  its 


224  THE  PEWEE  FLYCATCHER. 

beauties  to  the  sun,  or  observing  the  watchful  King-fisher  perched  on  some 
projecting  stone  over  the  clear  water  of  the  stream.  Nay,  now  and  then,  the 
Fish  Hawk  itself,  followed  by  a  White-headed  Eagle,  would  make  his  ap- 
pearance, and  by  his  graceful  aerial  motions,  raise  my  thoughts  far  above 
them  into  the  heavens,  silently  leading  me  to  the  admiration  of  the  sublime 
Creator  of  all.  These  impressive,  and  always  delightful,  reveries  often  ac- 
companied my  steps  to  the  entrance  of  a  small  cave  scooped  out  of  the  solid 
rock  by  the  hand  of  nature.  It  was,  I  then  thought,  quite  large  enough  for 
my  study.  My  paper  and  pencils,  with  now  and  then  a  volume  of  Edge- 
worth's  natural  and  fascinating  Tales  or  Lafontaine's  Fables,  afforded  me 
ample  pleasures.  It  was  in  that  place,  kind  reader,  that  I  first  saw  with  ad- 
vantage the  force  of  parental  affection  in  birds.  There  it  was  that  I  studied 
the  habits  of  the  Pewee;  and  there  I  was  taught  most  forcibly,  that  to  destroy 
the  nest  of  a  bird,  or  to  deprive  it  of  its  eggs  or  young,  is  an  act  of  great 
cruelty. 

I  had  observed  the  nest  of  this  plain-coloured  Flycatcher  fastened,  as  it 
were,  to  the  rock  immediately  over  the  arched  entrance  of  this  calm  retreat. 
I  had  peeped  into  it:  although  empty,  it  was  yet  clean,  as  if  the  absent  owner 
intended  to  revisit  it  with  the  return  of  spring.  The  buds  were  already 
much  swelled,  and  some  of  the  trees  were  ornamented  with  blossoms,  yet  the 
ground  was  still  partially  covered  with  snow,  and  the  air  retained  the  pierc- 
ing chill  of  winter.  I  chanced  one  morning  early  to  go  to  my  retreat.  The 
sun's  glowing  rays  gave  a  rich  colouring  to  every  object  around.  As  I  en- 
tered the  cave,  a  rustling  sound  over  my  head  attracted  my  attention,  and, 
on  turning,  I  saw  two  birds  fly  off,  and  alight  on  a  tree  close  by:-#the  Pe- 
wees  had  arrived!  I  felt  delighted,  and  fearing  that  my  sudden  appearance 
might  disturb  the  gentle  pair,  I  walked  off;  not,  however,  without  frequently 
looking  at  them.  I  concluded  that  they  must  have  just  come,  for  they  seem- 
ed fatigued: — their  plaintive  note  was  not  heard,  their  crests  were  not  erect- 
ed, and  the  vibration  of  the  tail,  so  very  conspicuous  in  this  species,  appeared 
to  be  wanting  in  power.  Insects  were  yet  few,  and  the  return  of  the  birds 
looked  to  me  as  prompted  more  by  their  affection  to  the  place,  than  by  any 
other  motive.  No  sooner  had  I  gone  a  few  steps  than  the  Pewees,  with  one 
accord,  glided  down  from  their  perches  and  entered  the  cave.  I  did  not  re- 
turn to  it  any  more  that  day,  and  as  I  saw  none  about  it,  or  in  the  neighbour- 
hood, I  supposed  that  they  must  have  spent  the  day  within  it.  I  concluded 
also  that  these  birds  must  have  reached  this  haven,  either  during  the  night, 
or  at  the  very  dawn  of  that  morn.  Hundreds  of  observations  have  since 
proved  to  me  that  this  species  always  migrates  by  night. 

I  went  early  next  morning  to  the  cave,  yet  not  early  enough  to  surprise 
them  in  it.     Long  before  I  reached  the  spot,  my  ears  were  agreeably  saluted 


226  THE  PEWEE  FLYCATCHER. 

their  avocations,  I  peeped  into  their  nest,  and  saw  there  their  first  egg,  so 
white  and  so  transparent — for  I  believe,  reader,  that  eggs  soon  loose  this 
peculiar  transparency  after  being  laid — that  to  me  the  sight  was  more  plea- 
sant than  if  I  had  met  with  a  diamond  of  the  same  size.  The  knowledge 
that  in  an  enclosure  so  frail,  life  already  existed,  and  that  ere  many  weeks 
would  elapse,  a  weak,  delicate,  and  helpless  creature,  but  perfect  in  all  its 
parts,  would  burst  the  shell,  and  immediately  call  for  the  most  tender  care 
and  attention  of  its  anxious  parents,  filled  my  mind  with  as  much  wonder  as 
when,  looking  towards  the  heavens,  I  searched,  alas!  in  vain,  for  the  true 
import  of  all  that  I  saw. 

In  six  days,  six  eggs  were  deposited;  but  I  observed  that  as  they  increased 
in  number,  the  bird  remained  a  shorter  time  in  the  nest.  The  last  she  de- 
posited in  a  few  minutes  after  alighting.  Perhaps,  thought  I,  this  is  a  law 
of  nature,  intended  for  keeping  the  eggs  fresh  to  the  last.  About  an  hour 
after  laying  the  last  egg,  the  female  Pewee  returned,  settled  in  her  nest,  and, 
after  arranging  the  eggs,  as  I  thought,  several  times  under  her  body,  expand- 
ed her  wings  a  little,  and  fairly  commenced  the  arduous  task  of  incubation. 

Day  after  day  passed  by.  I  gave  strict  orders  that  no  one  should  go  near 
the  cave,  much  less  enter  it,  or  indeed  destroy  any  bird's  nest  on  the  planta- 
tion. Whenever  I  visited  the  Pewees,  one  or  other  of  them  was  on  the 
nest,  while  its  mate  was  either  searching  for  food,  or  perched  in  the  vicinity, 
filling  the  air  with  its  loudest  notes.  I  not  unfrequently  reached  out  my 
hand  near  the  sitting  bird;  •  and  so  gentle  had  they  both  become,  or  rather  so 
well  acquainted  were  we,  that  neither  moved  on  such  occasions,  even  when 
my  hand  was  quite  close  to  it.  Now  and  then  the  female  would  shrink  back 
into  the  nest,  but  the  male  frequently  snapped  at  my  fingers,  and  once  left 
the  nest  as  if  in  great  anger,  flew  round  the  cave  a  few  times,  emitting  his 
querulous  whining  notes,  and  alighted  again  to  resume  his  labours. 

At  this  very  time,  a  Pewee's  nest  was  attached  to  one  of  the  rafters  of 
my  mill,  and  there  was  another  under  a  shed  in  the  cattle-yard.  Each  pair, 
any  one  would  have  felt  assured,  had  laid  out  the  limits  of  its  own  domain, 
and  it  was  seldom  that  one  trespassed  on  the  grounds  of  its  neighbour.  The 
Pewee  of  the  cave  generally  fed  or  spent  its  time  so  far  above  the  mill  on 
the  creek,  that  he  of  the  mill  never  came  in  contact  with  it.  The  Pewee  of 
the  cattle-yard  confined  himself  to  the  orchard,  and  never  disturbed  the  rest. 
Yet  I  sometimes  could  hear  distinctly  the  notes  of  the  three  at  the  same  mo- 
ment. I  had  at  that  period  an  idea  that  the  whole  of  these  birds  were  de- 
scended from  the  same  stock.  If  not  correct  in  this  supposition,  I  had  ample 
proof  afterwards  that  the  brood  of  young  Pewees,  raised  in  the  cave,  returned 
the  following  spring,  and  established  themselves  farther  up  on  the  creek,  and 
among  the  outhouses  in  the  neighbourhood. 


THE  PEWEE  FLYCATCHER.  227 

On  some  other  occasion,  I  will  give  you  such  instances  of  the  return  of 
birds,  accompanied  by  their  progeny,  to  the  place  of  their  nativity,  that  per- 
haps you  will  become  convinced,  as  I  am  at  this  moment,  that  to  this  pro- 
pensity every  country  owes  the  augmentation  of  new  species,  whether  of 
birds  or  of  quadrupeds,  attracted  by  the  many  benefits  met  with,  as  countries 
become  more  open  and  better  cultivated:  but  now  I  will,  with  your  leave, 
return  to  the  Pewees  of  the  cave. 

On  the  thirteenth  day,  the  little  ones  were  hatched.  One  egg  was  unpro- 
ductive, and  the  female,  on  the  second  day  after  the  birth  of  her  brood,  very 
deliberately  pushed  it  out  of  the  nest.  On  examining  this  egg,  I  found  it 
containing  the  embryo  of  a  bird  partly  dried  up,  with  its  vertebra?  quite  fast 
to  the  shell,  which  had  probably  occasioned  its  death.  Never  have  I  since 
so  closely  witnessed  the  attention  of  birds  to  their  young.  Their  entrance 
with  insects  was  so  frequently  repeated,  that  I  thought  I  saw  the  little  ones 
grow  as  I  gazed  upon  them.  The  old  birds  no  longer  looked  upon  me  as  an 
enemy,  and  would  often  come  in  close  by  me,  as  if  I  had  been  a  post.  I 
now  took  upon  me  to  handle  the  young  frequently;  nay,  several  times  I  took 
the  whole  family  out,  and  blew  off  the  exuviae  of  the  feathers  from  the  nest. 
I  attached  light  threads  to  their  legs:  these  they  invariably  removed,  either 
with  their  bills,  or  with  the  assistance  of  their  parents.  I  renewed  them, 
however,  until  I  found  the  little  fellows  habituated  to  them;  and  at  last, 
when  they  were  about  to  leave  the  nest,  I  fixed  a  light  silver  thread  to  the 
leg  of  each,  loose  enough  not  to  hurt  the  part,  but  so  fastened  that  no  exer- 
tions of  theirs  could  remove  it. 

Sixteen  days  had  passed,  when  the  brood  took  to  wing;  and  the  old  birds, 
dividing  the  time  with  caution,  began  to  arrange  the  nest  anew.  A  second 
set  of  eggs  were  laid,  and  in  the  beginning  of  August  a  new  brood  made  its 
appearance. 

The  young  birds  took  much  to  the  ^voods,  as  if  feeling  themselves  more 
secure  there  than  in  the  open  fields;  but  before  they  departed,  they  all 
appeared  strong,  and  minded  not  making  long  sorties  into  the  open  air,  over 
the  whole  creek,  and  the  fields  around  it.  On  the  8th  of  October,  not  a 
Pewee  could  I  find  on  the  plantation:  my  little  companions  had  all  set  off  on 
their  travels.  For  weeks  afterwards,  however,  I  saw  Pewees  arriving  from 
the  north,  and  lingering  a  short  time,  as  if  to  rest,  when  they  also  moved 
southward. 

At  the  season  when  the  Pewee  returns  to  Pennsylvania,  I  had  the  satis- 
faction to  observe  those  of  the  cave  in  and  about  it.  There  again,  in  the 
very  same  nest,  two  broods  were  raised.  I  found  several  Pewees  nests  at 
some  distance  up  the  creek,  particularly  under  a  bridge,  and  several  others 
in  the  adjoining  meadows,  attached  to  the  inner  part  of  sheds  erected  for  the 


90S  THE  PEWEE  FLYCATCHER. 

protection  of  hay  and  grain.  Having  caught  several  of  these  birds  on  the 
nest,  I  had  the  pleasure  of  finding  that  two  of  them  had  the  little  ring  on  the 
leg. 

I  was  now  obliged  to  go  to  France,  where  I  remained  two  years.  On  my 
return,  which  happened  early  in  August,  I  had  the  satisfaction  of  finding 
three  young  Pewees  in  the  nest  of  the  cave;  but  it  was  not  the  nest  which  I 
had  left  in  it.  The  old  one  had  been  torn  off  from  the  roof,  and  the  one 
which  I  found  there  was  placed  above  where  it  stood.  I  observed  at  once 
that  one  of  the  parent  birds  was  as  shy  as  possible,  while  the  other  allowed 
me  to  approach  within  a  few  yards.  This  was  the  male  bird,  and  I  felt  con- 
fident that  the  old  female  had  paid  the  debt  of  nature.  Having  inquired  of 
the  miller's  son,  I  found  that  he  had  killed  the  old  Pewee  and  four  young 
ones,  to  make  bait  for  the  purpose  of  catching  fish.  Then  the  male  Pewee 
had  brought  another  female  to  the  cave!  As  long  as  the  plantation  of  Mill 
Grove  belonged  to  me,  there  continued  to  be  a  Pewee's  nest  in  my  favourite 
retreat;  but  after  I  had  sold  it,  the  cave  was  destroyed,  as  were  nearly  all 
the  beautiful  rocks  along  the  shores  of  the  creek,  to  build  a  new  dam  across 
the  Perkiomen. 

This  species  is  so  peculiarly  fond  of  attaching  its  nest  to  rocky  caves, 
that,  were  it  called  the  Rock  Flycatcher,  it  would  be  appropriately  named. 
Indeed  I  seldom  have  passed  near  such  a  place,  particularly  during  the  breed- 
ing season,  without  seeing  the  Pewee,  or  hearing  its  notes.  I  recollect  that, 
while  travelling  in  Virginia  with  a  friend,  he  desired  that  I  would  go  some- 
what out  of  our  intended  route,  to  visit  the  renowned  Rock  Bridge  of  that 
State.  My  companion,  who  had  passed  over  this  natural  bridge  before, 
proposed  a  wager  that  he  could  lead  me  across  it  before  I  should  be  aware  of 
its  existence.  It  was  early  in  April;  and,  from  the  descriptions  of  this  place 
which  I  had  read,  I  felt  confident  that  the  Pewee  Flycatcher  must  be  about 
it.  I  accepted  the  proposal  of  my  friend  and  trotted  on,  intent  on  proving 
to  myself  that,  by  constantly  attending  to  one  subject,  a  person  must  sooner 
or  later  become  acquainted  with  it.  I  listened  to  the  notes  of  the  different 
birds,  which  at  intervals  came  to  my  ear,  and  at  last  had  the  satisfaction  to 
distinguish  those  of  the  Pewee.  I  stopped  my  horse,  to  judge  of  the  distance 
at  which  the  bird  might  be,  and  a  moment  after  told  my  friend  that  the 
bridge  was  short  of  a  hundred  yards  from  us,  although  it  was  impossible  for 
us  to  see  the  spot  itself.  The  surprise  of  my  companion  was  great.  "How 
do  you  know  this?"  he  asked,  "for,"  continued  he,  "you  are  correct." — 
"Simply,"  answered  I,  "because  I  hear  the  notes  of  the  Pewee,  and  know 
that  a  cave,  or  a  deep  rocky  creek,  is  at  hand."  We  moved  on;  the  Pewees 
rose  from  under  the  bridge  in  numbers;  I  pointed  to  the  spot  and  won  the 
wager. 


THE  PEWEE  FLYCATCHER.  229 

This  rule  of  observation  I  have  almost  always  found  to  work,  as  arithme- 
ticians say,  both  ways.  Thus  the  nature  of  the  woods  or  place  in  which  the 
observer  may  be,  whether  high  or  low,  moist  or  dry,  sloping  north  or  south, 
with  whatever  kind  of  vegetation,  tall  trees  of  particular  species,  or  low 
shrubs,  will  generally  disclose  the  nature  of  their  inhabitants. 

The  flight  of  the  Pewee  Flycatcher  is  performed  by  a  fluttering  light 
motion,  frequently  interrupted  by  sailings.  It  is  slow  when  the  bird  is  pro- 
ceeding to  some  distance,  rather  rapid  when  in  pursuit  of  prey.  It  often 
mounts  perpendicularly  from  its  perch  after  an  insect,  and  returns  to  some 
dry  twig,  from  which  it  can  see  around  to  a  considerable  distance.  It  then 
swallows  the  insect  whole,  unless  it  happens  to  be  large.  It  will  at  times 
pursue  an  insect  to  a  considerable  distance,  and  seldom  without  success.  It 
alights  with  great  firmness,  immediately  erects  itself  in  the  manner  of  Hawks, 
glances  all  around,  shakes  its  wings  with  a  tremulous  motion,  and  vibrates  its 
tail  upwards  as  if  by  a  spring.  Its  tufty  crest  is  generally  erected,  and  its 
whole  appearance  is  neat,  if  not  elegant.  The  Pewee  has  its  particular  stands, 
from  which  it  seldom  rambles  far.  The  top  of  a  fence  stake  near  the  road  is 
often  selected  by  it,  from  which  it  sweeps  off  in  all  directions,  returning  at 
intervals,  and  thus  remaining  the  greater  part  of  the  morning  and  evening. 
The  corner  of  the  roof  of  the  barn  suits  it  equally  well,  and  if  the  weather 
requires  it,  it  may  be  seen  perched  on  the  highest  dead  twig  of  a  tall  tree. 
During  the  heat  of  the  day  it  reposes  in  the  shade  of  the  woods.  In  the 
autumn  it  will  choose  the  stalk  of  the  mullein  for  its  stand,  and  sometimes 
the  projecting  angle  of  a  rock  jutting  over  a  stream.  It  now  and  then  alights 
on  the  ground  for  an  instant,  but  this  happens  principally  during  winter,  or 
while  engaged  during  spring  in  collecting  the  materials  of  which  its  nest  is 
composed,  in  our  Southern  States,  where  many  spend  their  time  at  this 
season. 

I  have  found  this  species  abundant  in  the  Floridas  in  winter,  in  full  song, 
and  as  lively  as  ever,  also  in  Louisiana  and  the  Carolinas,  particularly  in  the 
cotton  fields.  None,  however,  to  my  knowledge,  breed  south  of  Charleston 
in  South  Carolina,  and  very  few  in  the  lower  parts  of  that  State.  They  leave 
Louisiana  in  February,  and  return  to  it  in  October.  Occasionally  during 
winter  they  feed  on  berries  of  different  kinds,  and  are  quite  expert  at  dis- 
covering the  insects  impaled  on  thorns  by  the  Loggerhead  Shrike,  and  which 
they  devour  with  avidity.  I  met  with  a  few  of  these  birds  on  the  Magde- 
leine  Islands,  on  the  coast  of  Labrador,  and  in  Newfoundland. 

The  nest  of  this  species  bears  some  resemblance  to  that  of  the  Barn  Swal- 
low, the  outside  consisting  of  mud,  with  which  are  firmly  impacted  grasses 
or  mosses  of  various  kinds  deposited  in  regular  strata.  It  is  lined  with  deli- 
cate fibrous  roots,  or  shreds  of  vine  bark,  wool,  horse-hair,  and  sometimes  a 

Vol.  I.  35 


230  THE  PEWEE  FLYCATCHER. 

few  feathers.  The  greatest  diameter  across  the  open  mouth  is  from  five  to 
six  inches,  and  the  depth  from  four  to  five.  Both  birds  work  alternately, 
bringing  pellets  of  mud  or  damp  earth,  mixed  with  moss,  the  latter  of  which 
is  mostly  disposed  on  the  outer  partsj  and  in  some  instances  the  whole  exte- 
rior looks  as  if  entirely  formed  of  it.  The  fabric  is  firmly  attached  to  a  rock, 
or  a  wall,  the  rafter  of  a  house,  &c.  In  the  barrens  of  Kentucky  I  have 
found  the  nests  fixed  to  the  side  of  those  curious  places  called  sink-holes, 
and  as  much  as  twenty  feet  below  the  surface  of  the  ground.  I  have  observed 
that  when  the  Pewees  return  in  spring,  they  strengthen  their  tenement  by 
adding  to  the  external  parts  attached  to  the  rock,  as  if  to  prevent  it  from 
falling,  which  after  all  it  sometimes  does  when  several  years  old.  Instances 
of  their  taking  possession  of  the  nest  of  the  Republican  Swallow  (Hirundo 
falva)  have  been  observed  in  the  State  of  Maine.  The  eggs  are  from  four 
to  six,  rather  elongated,  pure  white,  generally  with  a  few  reddish  spots  near 
the  larger  end. 

In  Virginia,  and  probably  as  far  as  New  York,  they  not  unfrequently  raise 
two  broods,  sometimes  three,  in  a  season. 

This  species  ejects  the  hard  particles  of  the  wings,  legs,  abdomen,  and 
other  parts  of  insects,  in  small  pellets,  in  the  manner  of  owls,  goatsuckers 
and  swallows. 

The  following  characters  presented  by  the  digestive  organs  and  trachea, 
are  common  to  all  the  North  American  small  Flycatchers,  varying  only  in 
their  relative  dimensions.  The  roof  of  the  mouth  is  fiat  and  somewhat 
diaphanous;  its  anterior  part  with  three  prominent  lines,  the  palate  with 
longitudinal  ridges;  the  posterior  aperture  of  the  nares  linear-oblong,  mar- 
gined with  papillae.  The  tongue  is  4^  twelfths  long,  rather  broad,  very  thin, 
emarginate  and  papillate  at  the  base,  the  tip  slit.  The  mouth  is  rather  wide, 
measuring  4f  twelfths  across.  There  is  a  very  narrow  oblong  salivary  gland 
in  the  usual  place,  and  opening  by  three  ducts.  The  oesophagus  is  2  inches 
1  twelfth  long,  2^  twelfths  wide,  without  dilatation.  The  stomach  is  rather 
small,  6  twelfths  long,  5  twelfths  broad,  considerably  compressed,  the  lateral 
muscles  distinct  and  of  moderate  size,  the  lower  very  thin;  the  epithelium 
thin,  tough,  longitudinally  rugous,  brownish-red.  The  stomach  filled  with 
insects.  The  intestine  is  6h  inches  long,  from  If  twelfths  to  1  twelfth  in 
width;  the  coeca  1^  twelfths  long,  ^  twelfth  broad,  1  inch  distant  from  the 
extremity;  the  rectum  gradually  dilates  into  an  ovate  cloaca. 

The  trachea  is  1  inch  7  twelfths  long,  from  1  twelfth  to  f  twelfth  in  breadth, 
considerably  flattened;  the  rings  7S,  with  two  additional  dimidiate  rings. 
The  bronchi  are  of  moderate  length,  with  12  half  rings.  The  lateral  muscles 
are  very  slender,  as  are  the  sterno-tracheales;  the  inferior  laryngeal  are  very 
small,  and  seem  to  form  only  a  single  pair. 


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Drawn  from  Nulnre  by  J  .1  Audubon  Ki;  S.i'.L.S, 


l.i.Ji'1  IVmicd  «  Oil?  bv  J  I  frm-n  • 


THE  WOOD  PEWEE.  233 

The  nest  of  the  Wood  Pewee  is  as  delicate  in  its  form  and  structure,  as 
the  bird  is  in  the  choice  of  the  materials  which  it  uses  in  its  construction. 
In  almost  every  case,  I  have  found  it  well  fastened  to  the  upper  part  of  a 
horizontal  branch,  without  any  apparent  preference  being  given  to  particular 
trees.  Were  it  not  that  the  bird  generally  discloses  its  situation,  it  would 
be  difficult  to  discover  it,  for  it  is  shallow,  well  saddled  to  the  branch,  and 
connected  with  it  by  an  extension  of  the  lichens  forming  its  outer  coat,  in 
such  a  manner  as  to  induce  a  person  seeing  it  to  suppose  it  merely  a  swelling 
of  the  branch.  These  lichens  are  glued  together  apparently  by  the  saliva  of 
the  bird,  and  are  neatly  lined  with  very  fine  grasses,  the  bark  of  vines,  and 
now  and  then  a  few  horse-hairs.  The  eggs  are  four  or  five,  of  a  light  yel- 
lowish hue,  dotted  and  blotched  with  reddish  at  the  larger  end.  It  raises 
two  broods  in  a  season  in  Virginia  and  Pennsylvania,  but  rarely  more  than 
one  in  the  Northern  States.  By  the  middle  of  August  the  young  are  abroad; 
and  it  is  then  that  the  birds  seem  more  inclined  to  remove  from  the  interior 
of  the  forest. 

Although  less  pugnacious  than  the  larger  Flycatchers,  it  is  yet  very  apt 
»   to  take  offence  when  any  other  bird  approaches  its  stand,  or  appears  near  its 
nest. 

In  its  ordinary  flight  the  Wood  Pewee  passes  through  the  gloom  of  the 
forest,  at  a  small  elevation,  in  a  horizontal  direction,  moving  the  wings  rapid- 
ly, and  sweeping  suddenly  to  the  right  or  left,  or  darting  upwards,  after  its 
prey,  with  the  most  perfect  ease.  During  the  love  season,  it  often  flies,  with 
a  vibratory  motion  of  the  wings,  so  very  slowly  that  one  might  suppose  it 
about  to  poise  itself  in  the  air.  On  such  occasions  its  notes  are  guttural,  and 
are  continued  for  several  seconds  as  a  low  twitter. 

Although  the  Wood  Pewee  is  found  in  Labrador  and  Newfoundland,  as 
well  as  on  the  Rocky  Mountains  and  along  the  Columbia  River,  it  does  not 
appear  to  have  been  seen  in  the  Fur  Countries.  I  have  met  with  it  abun- 
dantly in  the  Texas,  where  it  breeds,  as  it  does  in  all  suitable  localities  in 
the  United  States. 

The  egg  measures  five-eighths  of  an  inch  in  length,  and  nine-sixteenths  in 
breadth.     The  vividness  of  the  red  markings  varies  considerably. 

Wood  Pewee,  Muscicapa  rapax,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  ii.  p.  81. 

Wood  Pewee,  Muscicapa  virens,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  285. 

Muscicapa  virens,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  68. 

Wood  Pewee,  Muscicapa  virens,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  ii.  p.  93;  vol.  v.  p.  425. 

Slightly  crested;  second  quill  longest,  first  shorter  than  third  and  longer 
than  sixth;  tail  deeply  emarginate;  upper  parts  dusky  olive,  upper  part  of 


234  TRAILL'S  FLYCATCHER. 

head  much  darker;  a  pale  greyish  ring  round  the  eye;  two  bands  of  greyish- 
white  on  the  wings,  secondaries  margined  with  the  same;  quills  and  tail- 
feathers  blackish-brown;  throat  and  breast  ash-grey  tinged  with  green,  the 
rest  of  the  lower  parts  pale  greenish-yellow. 

Male,  61,  11. 

Throughout  the  United  States.  British  Provinces.  Labrador.  New- 
foundland.    Rocky  Mountains.     Columbia  River.     Migratory. 

The  Swamp  Honeysuckle. 

Azalea  viscosa,  Willd.,  Sp.  PL,  vol.  i.  p.  831.     Pursh,  Flor.  Amer.  Sept.,  vol.  i.  p.  153. 
— Pentandria  Monogynia,  Linn. — Rhododendra,  Juss. 

The  leaves  of  this  species  of  Azalea  are  oblongo-obovate,  acute,  smooth  on 
both  sides;  the  flowers  white,  sweet-scented,  with  a  very  short  calyx.  It 
grows  abundantly  in  almost  every  district  of  the  United  States,  in  such 
localities  as  are  suited  to  it,  namely,  low  damp  meadows,  swamps,  and  shady 
woods. 


TRAILL'S   FLYCATCHER. 

tMuscicafa  Traillii. 
PLATE  LXV.— Male. 

This  is  a  species  which,  in  its  external  appearance,  is  so  closely  allied  to 
the  Wood  Pewee,  and  the  Small  Green  Crested  Flycatcher,  that  the  most 
careful  inspection  is  necessary  to  establish  the  real  differences  existing  be- 
tween these  three  species.  Its  notes,  however,  are  perfectly  different,  as  are, 
in  some  measure,  its  habits,  as  well  as  the  districts  in  which  it  resides. 

The  notes  of  Traill's  Flycatcher  consist  of  the  sounds  luheet,  wheet,  which 
it  articulates  clearly  while  on  wing.  It  resides  in  the  skirts  of  the  woods 
along  the  prairie  lands  of  the  Arkansas  river.  When  leaving  the  top  branches 
of  a  low  tree,  this  bird  takes  long  flights,  skimming  in  zigzag  lines,  passing 
close  over  the  tops  of  the  tall  grasses,  snapping  at  and  seizing  different 
species  of  winged  insects,  and  returning  to  the  same  trees  to  alight.  Its 
notes,  I  observed,  were  uttered  when  on  the  point  of  leaving  the  branch. 
The  pair  chased  the  insects  as  if  acting  in  concert,  and  doubtless  had  a  nest 
in  the  immediate  neighbourhood,  although  I  was  unable  to  discover  it.     It 


236 


LEAST  PEWEE  FLYCATCHER. 

-   Muscicapa  pusilla,  Swains. 

PLATE  LXVI.— Male. 

This  small  and  plainly-coloured  species,  first  described  by  my  friend  Wil- 
liam Swainson,  Esq.  in  the  Fauna  Boreali-Americana,  under  the  name  of 
"Tyrannula pusilla"  is  a  common  inhabitant  of  the  northern  and  north- 
western parts  of  America,  but  has  not,  I  believe,  been  known  to  pass  along 
our  Atlantic  shores.  Dr.  Richardson,  who  observed  it  in  the  Fur  Coun- 
tries, says  that  "it  was  first  seen  by  us  at  Carlton  House,  on  the  19th  of  May, 
flitting  about  for  a  few  days  among  low  bushes  on  the  banks  of  the  river, 
after  which  it  retired  to  the  moist  shady  woods  lying  farther  north." 

My  friend  Thomas  Nuttall,  Esq.  procured  this  bird  on  Wapatoo  Island, 
which  is  formed  by  the  junction  of  the  Multnomah  with  the  Columbia,  20 
miles  long,  and  10  broad.  The  land  is  high  and  extremely  fertile,  and  in 
most  parts  supplied  with  a  heavy  growth  of  cotton-wood,  ash,  and  sweet-wil- 
low. But  the  chief  wealth  of  the  island  consists  of  the  numerous  ponds  in 
the  interior,  abounding  with  the  common  arrow-head,  Sagittaria  sagiitifo- 
lia,  to  the  root  of  which  is  attached  a  bulb"  growing  beneath  it  in  the  mud. 
This  bulb,  to  which  the  Indians  give  the  name  of  Wapatoo,  is  the  great  arti- 
cle of  food,  and  almost  the  staple  article  of  commerce,  on  the  Columbia.  It 
is  never  out  of  season,  so  that  at  all  times  of  the  year  the  valley  is  frequented 
by  the  neighbouring  Indians,  who  come  to  gather  it.  It  is  collected  chiefly 
by  the  women,  who  take  a  light  canoe  in  a  pond,  where  the  water  is  as  high 
as  the  breast,  and  by  means  of  their  toes,  separate  the  root  from  the  bulb, 
which  on  being  freed  from  the  mud  rises  immediately  to  the  surface  of  the 
water,  and  is  thrown  into  the  canoe.  This  plant  is  found  through  the  whole 
extent  of  the  Columbia  Valley,  but  does  not  grow  farther  eastward. 

"I  observed,"  he  continues,  "a  male  of  this  species  very  active  and  cheer- 
ful, making  his  chief  residence  in  a  spreading  oak,  on  the  open  border  of  a 
piece  of  forest.  As  usual,  he  took  his  station  at  the  extremity  of  a  dead 
branch,  from  whence,  at  pretty  quick  intervals,  he  darted  after  passing  in- 
sects. When  at  rest,  he  raised  his  erectile  crest,  and  in  great  earnest  called 
out  sishui,  sishui,  and  sometimes  tsishea,  tsishea,  in  a  lisping  tone,  rather 
quickly,  and  sometimes  in  great  haste,  so  as  to  run  both  calls  together.  This 
brief,  rather  loud,  quaint  and  monotonous  ditty,  was  continued  for  hours  to- 
gether, at  which  time,  so  great  was  our  little  actor's  abstraction;  that  he  al- 


N°14 


PL66 


1     .   I!   ■•:...,,    i    r     |. i-M 


Liili*  LVmlefl  &Col?by  1  I  l'.-nvn  ijhilnrtV 


LEAST  PEWEE  FLYCATCHER.  237 

lowed  a  near  approach  without  any  material  apprehension.  As  I  could  not 
discover  any  nest,  I  have  little  doubt  it  was  concealed  either  in  some  knot  or 
laid  on  some  horizontal  branch." 

I  found  this  species  both  in  Newfoundland  and  on  the  coast  of  Labrador  in 
considerable  numbers.  In  the  latter  country,  where  the  bushes  are  low  and 
the  fir-trees  seldom  attain  a  height  of  thirty  feet,  I  observed  that  it  preferred 
for  its  residence  the  narrow  and  confined  valleys  which  at  that  season  (July) 
are  clothed  with  luxuriant  herbage,  and  abound  in  insects,  to  which  this  little 
Flycatcher  gives  chase  with  great  activity,  returning,  as  is  the  well-known 
habit  of  all  our  small  species,  to  the  twig  or  top  of  the  plant  which  it  has 
selected  for  its  look-out  station.  Two  males  I  observed  one  morning,  were 
constantly  engaged  in  pursuing  each  other,  when  at  times  they  would  mount 
to  some  height  in  the  air,  there  meet,  snap  their  bills  violently,  separate,  and 
return  to  their  posts.  Their  continued  cries  induced  me  to  believe  that  they 
had  females  and  nests  in  the  valley;  and  after  searching  a  good  while,  I  had 
the  gratification  of  finding  one  of  them  placed  between  two  small  twigs  of  a 
bush  not  above  four  feet  in  height.  This  nest  was  composed  of  delicate  dry 
grasses  and  fibrous  roots,  so  thinly  arranged  as  to  enable  me  to  see  through 
it.  It  contained  five  eggs,  so  nearly  resembling  those  of  our  Little  Red-start 
Flycatcher,  that,  had  I  not  started  the  female  from  the  nest,  I  should  have 
been  induced  to  pronounce  them  the  property  of  that  bird.  They  measured 
five  and  a  half  eighths  by  four-eighths,  and  were  rather  sharp  at  the  smaller 
end,  pure  white,  thinly  spotted,  and  marked  with  different  tints  of  light  red, 
with  a  few  dots  of  umber,  principally  toward  the  apex.  Many  of  the  young 
were  able  to  fly  before  our  departure,  which  took  place  on  the  12th  of  Au- 
gust; and  I  think  that  the  pair  which  I  found  breeding  must  have  been  later 
than  usual  in  arriving  in  that  country,  as  a  very  few  days  afterwards  I  found 
a  good  number  fully  fledged,  and  travelling  along  the  shore  of  St.  George's 
Bay  in  Newfoundland.  This  species  may  perhaps  breed  in  Nova  Scotia,  as 
I  have  seen  a  specimen  obtained  there  in  the  collection  of  my  young  friend 
Thomas  M'Culloch,  Esq.  of  Halifax. 

Tyranntjla  pusilla,  Little  Tyrant  Flycatcher,  Swains,  and  Rich.  F.  Bor.  Amer.,  vol. 

ii.  p.  144. 
Little  Tyrant  Flycatcher,  Muscicapa pusilla,  Aud.  Orn.  Biog.,  vol.  v.  p.  288. 

Third  quill  longest,  fourth  scarcely  shorter,  second  nearly  one-twelfth 
shorter,  and  exceeding  the  first  by  three  and  a  quarter  twelfths;  tail  slightly 
emarginate;  upper  parts  light  greenish-brown;  loral  band  whitish,  a  narrow 
pale  ring  surrounding  the  eye;  wings  olive-brown,  with  two  bands  of  dull 
white,  secondaries  margined  with  the  same;  tail  olive-brown,  the  lateral 

Vol.  I.  36 


238  SMALL  HEADED  FLYCATCHER. 

feathers  lighter,  the  outer  web  pale  brownish-gre)^  fore  part  of  neck  and  a 
portion  of  the  breast  and  sides  ash-grey,  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts  pale 
yellow. 

Male,  5T22,  wing,  2T5¥. 

Columbia  River.  Fur  countries.  Labrador.  Newfoundland.  Rare  in 
the  Atlantic  States. 


The  White  Oak. 

Quercus  prinus,  WW.  Sp.  PL,  vol.  iv.  p.  439.  Pursh,  Fl.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  633. — Quer- 
cus  prinus  palustris,  Mich.  Arbr.  Forest,  de  L'Amer.  Sept.  vol.  ii.  p.  51.  PI.  7. — Monce- 
cia  polyandria,  Linn. — Amentace-e,  Juss. 

Leaves  oblongo-oval,  acute,  largely  toothed,  the  teeth  nearly  equal,  dilat- 
ed, and  callous  at  the  tip;  cupule  craterate,  attenuated  at  the  base;  acorn 
ovate.  This  species  grows  in  low  shady  woods,  and  along  the  margins  of 
rivers,  from  Pennsylvania  to  Florida.  The  wood  is  porous,  and  of  inferior 
quality. 


SMALL   HEADED   FLYCATCHER. 

~f-MuSCTCAPA  MINUTA,   WilsOll. 
PLATE  LXVII.— Male. 

The  sight  of  the  figure  of  this  species  brings  to  my  recollection  a  curious 
incident  of  long-past  days,  when  I  drew  it  at  Louisville  in  Kentucky.  It 
was  in  the  early  part  of  the  spring  of  1  SOS,  thirty -two  years  ago,  that  I  pro- 
cured a  specimen  of  it  while  searching  the  margins  of  a  pond. 

In  those  happy  clays,  kind  reader,  I  thought  not  of  the  minute  differences 
by  which  one  species  may  be  distinguished  from  another  in  words,  or  of  the 
necessity  of  comparing  tarsi,  toes,  claws,  and  quills,  although  I  have,  as  you 
are  aware,  troubled  you  with  tedious  details  of  this  sort.  When  Alexander 
Wilson  visited  me  at  Louisville,  he  found  in  my  already  large  collection  of 
drawings,  a  figure  of  the  present  species,  which,  being  at  that  time  unknown 
to  him,  he  copied  and  afterwards  published  in  his  great  work,  but  without 
acknowledging  the  privilege  that  had  thus  been  granted  to  him.  I  have 
more  than  once  regretted  this,  not  by  any  means  so  much  on  my  own  ac- 


240  THE  AMERICAN  REDSTART. 

web;  a  narrow  white  ring  surrounding  the  eye;  two  bands  of  dull  white  on 
the  wing;  sides  of  the  head  and  neck  greenish-yellow,  the  rest  of  the  lower 
parts  pale  yellow,  gradually  fading  into  white  behind. 

Male,  5,  8± 

Kentucky,  Pennsylvania,  and  New  Jersey.  Exceedingly  rare.  Migra- 
tory. 

The  Virginian  Spider-Wort. 

Tradescantia  Virginica,  Willd.  Sp.  PL,  vol.  ii.  p.  16.     Pursh,  Fl.  Amer.,  vol.  i.  p.  218. 
— Hexandria  Monogynia,  Linn. — J  unci,  Juss. 

This  species  is  distinguished  by  its  erect,  succulent  stem;  elongated,  lanceo- 
late, smooth  leaves;  and  umbellate,  subsessile  flowers,  which  are  of  a  deep 
purple  colour,  with  yellow  anthers. 


THE   AMERICAN   REDSTART. 

^  Muscicapa  Ruticilla,  Linn. 

PLATE  LXVIIL— Male  and  Female. 

This  is  one  of  the  most  lively,  as  well  as  one  of  the  handsomest,  of  our 
Flycatchers,  and  ornaments  our  woods  during  spring  and  summer,  when  it 
cannot  fail  to  attract  the  attention  of  any  person  who  may  visit  the  interior 
of  the  shady  forests.  It  is  to  be  met  with  over  the  whole  of  the  United 
States,  where  it  arrives,  according  to  the  different  localities,  between  the  be- 
ginning of  March  and  the  1st  of  May.  It  takes  its  departure,  on  its  way 
southward,  late  in  September,  and  in  the  beginning  of  October. 

It  keeps  in  perpetual  motion,  hunting  along  the  branches  sidewise,  jump- 
ing to  either  side  in  search  of  insects  and  larvae,  opening  its  beautiful  tail  at 
every  movement  which  it  makes,  then  closing  it,  and  flirting  it  from  side  to 
side,  just  allowing  the  transparent  beauty  of  the  feathers  to  be  seen  for  a 
moment.  The  wings  are  observed  gently  drooping  during  these  motions, 
and  its  pleasing  notes,  which  resemble  the  sounds  of  Tetee-whee,  Tetee-ivhee, 
are  then  emitted.  Should  it  observe  an  insect  on  the  wing,  it  immediately 
flies  in  pursuit  of  it,  either  mounts  into  the  air  in  its  wake,  or  comes  towards 
the  ground  spirally  and  in  many  zig-zags.  The  insect  secured,  the  lovely 
Redstart  reascends,  perches,  and  sings  a  different  note,  equally  clear,  and 


242  THE  AMERICAN  REDSTART. 

with  2  dimidiate;  its  muscles  as  in  the  other  species,  but  the  inferior  laryn- 
geal proportionally  a  little  larger;  bronchi  of  about  12  half  rings. 

American  Redstart,  Muscicapa  ruticilla,  Wils.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  i.  p.  103. 
Muscicapa  ruticilla,  Bonap.  Syn.,  p.  68. 

American  Redstart,  Muscicapa  ruticilla,  Aud.  Amer.  Orn.,  vol.  i.  p.  202;  vol.  v.  p.  428. 
American  Redstart,  Muscicapa  ruticilla,  Nutt.  Man.,  vol.  i.  p.  291. 

Second  and  third  quills  equal  and  longest,  fourth  longer  than  first;  tail 
rounded.  Male  with  the  head,  neck  all  round,  fore  part  of  breast,  and  back, 
glossy  bluish-black;  sides  of  the  breast,  lower  wing-coverts,  a  patch  on  the 
wings  formed  by  the  margins  of  the  primaries  and  the  basal  half  of  most  of 
the  secondaries,  together  with  three-fourths  of  both  webs  of  the  outer  four 
tail-feathers  on  each  side,  and  the  outer  web  of  the  next,  bright  orange-red; 
abdomen  and  lower  tail-coverts  white.  Female  with  the  ur^per  parts  yellow- 
ish-brown; the  head  grey;  the  quills  greyish-brown;  the  tail  darker;  the  parts 
yellow  which  in  the  male  are  bright  orange;  the  rest  of  the  lower  parts  white, 
tinged  with  yellow.  Young  similar  to  the  female,  more  grey  above,  and  with 
less  yellow  beneath. 

Male,  5,  6^.     Female. 

Throughout  the  United  States.     Abundant.     Migratory. 

The  Virginian  Hornbeam,  or  Iron-wood  Tree. 
Ostrya  virginica,  Willd.,  Sp.  PL,  vol.  iv.  p.  469.     Pursh,  Flor.  Amer.,  vol.  ii.  p.  623. — 

MoNffiCIA  PoLYANDRIA,  Linn. AMENTACE^,  JuSS. 

This  species  is  distinguished  by  its  ovato-oblong  leaves,  which  are  some- 
what cordate  at  the  base,  unequally  serrated  and  acuminate,  and  its  twin, 
ovate,  acute  cones.  It  is  a  small  tree,  attaining  a  height  of  from  twenty  to 
thirty  feet,  and  a  diameter  of  about  one  foot.  The  wood  is  white,  and  close 
grained.  The  common  name  in  America  is  iron-wood,  which  it  receives  on 
account  of  the  great  hardness  of  the  wood. 


1ST?  14. 


PI.  69. 


v.    & 


T 


Drawn  from  Nniure  bv  I  .1  Audubon  K.H.S  II.  S 


Li*' Pruned  iCol'bv  J  T  Bowra  PhUari" 


X°li 


P1.70. 


7     7 

/.  Jfal&.2.  Female?. 


■^— ^j<Mu^iM1i1Uii_^.-_Lji3i^ii>l>oii  !•'  II   ■  I  L  5 


l.iih'1  Primed  *<roldhv  i.T  Bowen.TWIarl" 


: 


— 


LIST  OF  SUBSCRIBERS. 


Albany,  N.  Y. 

Rufus  King, 

W.  C.  Little,  (3  copies.) 

Annapolis,  Md. 

R.  W.  Gill, 

T.  W.  Franklin, 

T.  W.  Wells, 

Mrs.  Bland, 

Sommerville  Pinckney, 

Thomas  H.  Alexander, 

Wm.  S.  Green, 

A.  Randall, 

G.  R.  Barber, 

Col.  J.  B.  Walbach,  U.  S.  A. 

Capt.  P.  F.  Voorhees,  U.  S.  N. 

Augusta,  Ga. 

John  Millage, 
Henry  H.  Cummings, 
Rev.  J.  P.  King. 

Baltimore,  Md. 

Robert  M'Kim, 

John  Gable, 

J.  Q,.  Hewlett, 

Basil  B.  Gordon, 

P.  E.  Thomas, 

J.  E.  Atkinson, 

C.  W.  Pairo, 

R.  M.  R.  Smith, 

Thomas  P.  Williams, 

Hough,  Hupp  &  Co. 

Evan  T.  Ellicott, 

Elias  Ellicott, 

Samuel  &  Philip  T.  Ellicott, 

Hugh  M'Eldery, 

Wm.  M'Donald  &  Son, 

Thomas  M.  Smith, 

Thomas  Whitridge; 

Samuel  Hurlbut, 

G.  S.  Oldfield, 

John  Hurst, 

Francis  T.  King: 

Wm.  H.  Beatty. 

James  W.  Jenkins 

Vol.  I. 


W.  H.  De  C.  Wright, 
John  Ridgeley, 
W.  G.  Harrison, 
John  Clark, 
David  Keener, 
Charles  Wyeth, 
Enoch  Pratt, 
Martin  Keith,  jr. 
James  Harwood, 
Samuel  K.  George, 
M.  N.  Falls, 
E.  Jenner  Smith, 
Hon.  Judge  U.  S.  Heath, 
Wm.  J.  Albert, 
George  Baughman, 
William  Reynolds, 
Miss  Sarah  F.  Law, 
Gen.  G.  H.  Stewart, 
William  N.  Baker, 
Richard  Duvall, 
George  Brown, 
John  Hopkins, 
Miss  Emily  Hoffman, 
Ch.  Simon, 

A.  B.  Riely, 
C.  S.  Fowler, 
Charles  F.  Mayer, 
Mrs.  Samuel  Feast, 
H.  Le  Roy  Edgar, 
Charles  W  Karthause, 
Thomas  G.  Pitts, 

B.  Deford, 
R.  Sturges, 
Alexander  Turnbull, 
Philip  T.  George, 
William  Schley, 

C.  Kretzer, 

D.  S.  Wilson, 
James  Armour, 
Thomas  W.  Hall, 
George  C.  Morton, 
Wm.  Stewart  Applelon, 
Alex.  L.  Boggs, 

Hugh  Birkhead. 
Thomas  Palmer, 
A.  B.  Cleveland,.  M.  D. 
Hon.  Judge  John  Purviance. 


38 


250 


LIST  OF  SUBSCRIBERS. 


George  W.  Hall, 

Lambert  Gettings, 

Z.  C.  Lee, 

John  M.  Harman, 

Thomas  Butler, 

Gideon  B.  Smith,  M.  D. 

James  Cheston, 

James  Gibson, 

J.  T.  Ducatel, 

Robert  Gilmor, 

Mrs.  William  S.  Winder, 

William  G.  Pogue, 

Isaac  Munroe, 

Samuel  Hoffman, 

J.  Pennington, 

Gustav  W.  Lurman, 

Robert  P.  Brown, 

H.  D.  Chapin, 

Capt.  Samuel  Ringold,  U.  S.  A. 

Robert  Mickle, 

John  V.  L.  M'Mahon, 

John  Glenn, 

Wm.  E.  May  hew, 

John  Buckler,  M.  D. 

F.  W.  Brune, 

John  H.  B.  Latrobe, 

J.  Mason  Campbell, 

Com.  Jacob  Jones,  U.  S.  N. 

John  L.  Dunkel, 

Wm.  H.  Hoffman, 

Robert  A.  Taylor, 

Joseph  Todhunter, 

P.  Macauley,  M.  D. 

Edward  Patterson, 

John  Bradford, 

George  M.  Gill, 

Thomas  Swann, 

R.  S.  Stewart,  M.  D. 

St.  Mary's  College, 

I.  N.  Nicollet, 

W.  C.  Shaw, 

Comfort  Tiffany, 

George  W.  Cox, 

John  C.  Brune, 

Edward  Pitman, 

J.  M'Henry  Boyd, 

George  W.  Dobbin, 

T.  Parkin  Scott, 

George  T.  Jenkins. 

Hugh  Jenkins, 

John  Nelson, 

James  Howard, 

Frederick  Rodewald, 

John  M'Tavish, 

Samuel  Riggs, 

Thomas  Harrison, 

Andrew  Aldridge, 

John  H.  Alexander. 

Samuel  Jones,  jr. 

Thomas  R.  Ware. 


George  H.  Howard, 
Charles  Fisher  &  Co. 
John  R.  Moore, 
P.  Baltzell, 
Thomas  Meredith, 
Andrew  D.  Jones, 
William  Woodward, 
J.  S.  Inloes, 
S.  T.  Thompson, 
John  K.  Randall, 
William  Kennedy, 
Edward  Jenkins, 
Mark  W.  Jenkins, 
James  L.  Hawkins, 
Richard  Plummer, 
Robert  M.  Ludlow, 
Charles  Howard, 
Robert  S.  Voss, 
Charles  A.  Williamson, 
Benjamin  D.  Higdon, 
George  Tiffany, 
James  H.  Marston, 
R.  M'Dowell, 
Plaskett.  &  Cugle, 
Benjamin  C.  Ward, 
O.  C.  Tiffany, 
Richard  Sewell, 
Riverdy  Johnson, 
Richard  Linthicum, 
H.  G.  D.  Carroll, 
Alonzo  Lilly, 
E.  B.  Loud, 
George  S.  Norris, 
Brantz  Mayer, 
Samuel  M'Pherson, 
Nathan  Rogers, 
David  U.  Brown. 

Baton  Rouge,  La. 

T.  W.  Chinn. 

Beaufort,  S.  C. 

Dr.  H.  M.  Fuller, 

Miss  Richardson, 

J.  Milne, 

Beaufort  Library  Society. 


Bedford,  Pa, 


William  Lyon. 


Boston,  Mass. 


Simon  E.  Greene, 
D.  Eckley, 
Ignatius  Sargent, 
F.  C.  Gray, 
Amos  Binney, 
Thomas  Douse. 
J.  P.  Cushing, 
N.  G.  Snelling. 


LIST  OF  SUBSCRIBERS. 


251 


James  Savage, 

Ozias  Goodwin, 

Thomas  H.  Perkins, 

Jonathan  Phillips, 

John  C.  Warren,  M.  D. 

John  M.  Bethune, 

James  Pierce, 

Seth  Bass,  M.  D. 

Benjamin  D.  Greene, 

Abbott  Lawrence, 

Miss  Inches, 

Rev.  Francis  Parkman,  D.  D, 

John  James  Dixwell, 

Nathaniel  J.  Bowditch, 

George  Hayward, 

J.  C.  Gray, 

Edmund  Dwight, 

Samuel  Appleton, 

Miss  Nancy  Hooper, 

William  Appleton, 

N.  Appleton, 

P.  C.  Brooks, 

Charles  Jackson, 

James  S.  Amory, 

Pascal  P.  Pope, 

John  S.  Tyler, 

An  Unknown  Friend. 

Mrs.  Wigglesworth, 

Increase  S.  Smith, 

J.  J.  Bowditch, 

Miss  Gibbs, 

Jonathan  French, 

James  Brown, 

Thomas  Wetmore, 

Miss  C.  Nichols, 

Miss  C.  Crowninshield, 

J.  Hall,  jr. 

Dr.  James  Jackson, 

Miss  Charles  Taylor, 

William  Pratt, 

George  Parkman.  M.  D. 

G.  C.  Shattuck,  M.  D. 

E.  Stewart, 

E.  Sturgis. 

Brooklyn,  N.  Y. 

James  Hall, 
Robert  Havell, 
W.  Talcott, 
Alfred  Greenleaf, 
Joseph  A.  Perry, 
J.  Farley  Clark, 
E.  D.  Hurlbut, 

Cambridge,  Mass. 

Book  Club. 

Carlisle,  Pa. 

Spencer  F.  Baird. 


Cedar  Hill,  Pa. 
N.  Dodge. 

Cleveland,  Ohio. 
Rufus  K.  Winslow. 

Charleston,  *S*.  C. 

Mrs.  Mary  A.  Faber, 

Samuel  Wilson,  M.  D. 

Rev.  John  Bachman,  D.  D, 

Dr.  Baron, 

James  Bancroft, 

Allard  H.  Belin, 

Thomas  H.  Deas, 

Miss  Wareham, 

Charles  Parker, 

Isaac  W.  Walter, 

Edward  Watson, 

Dr.  Teideiman, 

Mrs.  Benjamin  R.  Smith, 

J.  W.  Warley, 

Dr.  Edward  North, 

Dr.  Edward  W.  North, 

C.  Wienges, 

S.  W.  Barker, 

O.  L.  Dobson, 

Joseph  F.  Bee, 

Dr.  Thomas  Y.  Simons, 

Hugh  Wilson,  jr. 

James  M.  Wilson, 

Miss  H.  S.  Baker, 

Dr.  F.  Wurdemann, 

M.  G.  Gibbes, 

Chancellor  B.  F.  Dunkin, 

Edwin  P.  Starr, 

Mrs.  La  Bruce, 

A.  C.  Smith, 

Thomas  Warring, 

Miss  Annelly, 

W.  A.  Carson, 

E.  L.  Strohecker, 

C.  C.  Strohecker, 

Frederick  Porcher, 

Samuel  Stevens, 

Mrs.  Wm.  Hey  ward, 

James  L.  Pettigrue, 

Dr.  H.  Ravenel, 

J.  D.  Legare, 

C.  R.  Brewster, 

Mrs.  James  Ferguson, 

William  Blanding, 

William  Seabrook, 

R.  Bentham, 

S.  G.  Deveaux, 

P.  Gourdin, 

Thomas  W.  Porcher, 

R.  Barnwell  Rhett,  M.  C: 

John  Ramsey, 

J.  C.  Tunno. 


252 


LIST  OF  SUBSCRIBERS. 


W.  B.  Deas, 
J.  L.  Manning, 
John  Kirkpatrick, 
George  Oates,  (7  copies.) 

Chippewa,  U.  C. 

F.  Huddleston. 

Cold  Springs,  N.  Y. 

Gov.  Kemble. 

Columbia,  S.  C. 

B.  T.  Elmore, 
John  M'Cully, 
Mrs.  Hampton, 
R.  W.  Gibbes, 
Hon.  W.  C.  Preston, 
Maxcy  Gregg. 

Courtsville,  S.  C. 

W.  Sumner. 

Dover,  N.  H. 

E.  T.  Lane. 

Detroit,  Mich. 

Major  S.  H.  Webb. 

England. 

H.  Thomas  Weld. 

Fort  Crawford,  Wis.  Ter. 

W.  D.  M.  Rissack,  5th  Reg  Inf.  Library. 

Gallatin  county,  Missouri. 

A.  G.  Brower. 

Georgetown,  D.  C. 

George  C.  Bomford, 
Georgetown  College, 
Charles  Cruickshank. 

Georgetown,  S.  C. 

B.  B.  Smith,  Esq..  M.  D. 
J.  Motte  Alson. 

Greenbriar  county.  Va. 

Matthew  Arbuckle. 

Greensborough.  Ala. 

Rev.  D.  P.  Bestor, 
Joseph  A.  Moore. 

Hagerstown.  Mil. 

Joseph  J.  Merrick. 

Halifax.  N.  S. 

Thomas  M'Culloch. 


Hartford,  Conn. 
C.  H.  Olmstead. 

Holmesburgh,  Pa. 
Humphrey  J.  Waterman. 

Hopetown,  Ga. 
James  H.  Couper. 

Jersey"  City,  N.  J. 
C.  Van  Vorst. 

Lancaster,  Pa. 
Arthur  W.  Mallon,  (4  copies.) 

Lexington,  Ky. 

Daniel  Vertner, 
M.  C.  Johnson, 
Henry  Johnson, 
Henry  Clay. 

London,  Eng. 

Sir  Thomas  Phillips, 

William  Yarrell,  F.  L.  S.,  &c. 

Lemuel  Goddard, 

B.  Phillips,  F.R.S.,&c. 

Binney  Colvin, 

W.  Phillips. 

Long  Island,  N.  Y. 

W.  O.  Ayers,  Suffolk  co. 

Macon,  Ga. 

P.  C.  Pendleton,  M.  D. 

Margaretta  Furnace,  Pa. 

Henry  Slaymaker. 

Mobile,  Ala. 

Paul  S.  H.  Lee, 

J.  Martin  Lee, 

Alg.  S.  Vigus.  (2  copies.) 

F.  A.  Lee, 

Wm.  Bower, 

S.  V.  Allen, 

Wm.  M.  Patterson, 

Jos.  H.  Young, 

James  W.  Goodman. 

J.  L.  Lock  wood, 

John  K.  Randall, 

George  Haig. 

Montreal.  U.  C. 

Hon.  G.  H.  Ryland. 
Frederick  Griffin 


LIST  OF  SUBSCRIBERS. 


255 


Wm.  Ashbridge, 
Thomas  Dunlap, 
Jos.  C.  Oliver, 
John  R.  Bowers, 
Daniel  L.  Miller, 
John  J.  Walker, 
Jacob  P.  Jones, 
Caleb  Parker, 
A.  M'Intire, 
H.  Walton, 
C.  W.  Hallowell, 
William  Young,  M.  D. 
Owen  Jones, 
John  Bacon, 
W.  H.  Howell, 
Joseph  T.  Baldwin, 
Sigmond  Pancoast, 
James  T.  Caldcleugh, 
W.  H.  Emory, 
Carey  &  Hart, 
George  C.  Leib,  M.  D. 


Pittsburgh,  Pa. 


Hon.  Wm.  Wilkins, 
John  H.  Brown, 
E.  Simpson, 

A.  Kirk  Lewis, 
R.  M'Master, 
Frederick  B.  Smith, 
W.  E.  Rogers, 
Robert  Dalzell. 

Pittsjield,  Mass. 

Rev.  H.  N.  Brinsmade, 
J.  C.  Chesbrough, 
D.  Campbell, 

B.  Mills. 

Portsmouth,  N.  H. 

Portsmouth  Athenaeum. 

Providence,  R.  I. 

William  Jenkins, 
Alexander  Duncan, 
Moses  B.  Ives, 
Jacob  Donnell, 
George  M.  Richmond, 
Amory  Chapin. 

Quebec,  L.  C. 
James  Turnbull. 

Queensborough,  Ga. 
W.  C.  Dawson,  M.  C. 

Reading,  Pa. 

H.  H.  Muhlenberg,  M.  D. 
Edward  Brooks, 
Joseph  L.  Stichter: 


Henry  Conard, 
Samuel  Ritter, 
Benjamin  Keim, 
Joseph  H.  Spayde, 
Miss  Catharine  Hiester. 

Richmond,  Va. 

J.  H.  Strobia, 

Library  of  the  State  of  Virginia, 

G.  A.  Myers, 

Robert  Stannard, 

William  H.  Richardson, 

Frederick  Marx,  M.  D. 

William  Shapard, 

R.  J.  Daniel, 

Isaac  Davenport, 

Henry  Myers,  M.  D. 

Wynsham  Robinson, 

William  H.  M'Farlan,  " 

E.  H.  Carmichael,  M.  D. 

Philip  Duval,  jr. 

William  Carter, 

James  Beale,  M.  D. 

G.  Persico, 

Thomas  Rrtchie, 

William  Copland, 

Mrs.  Mary  M.  Eifreth, 

A.  W.  Nolting, 
Henry  L.  Brooke, 
William  R.  Myers, 

B.  W.  Leigh, 
P.  W.  Lemosy, 
James  Lyons, 
William  Mitchell,  jr. 
Joseph  Mayo, 
Wm.  J.  Barksdale, 
University  of  Virginia, 
John  B.  Southall, 
John  Cullin,  M.  D. 

Roxbury,  Mass. 

W.  J.  Reynolds. 

Salem,  Mass. 

S.  C.  Phillips, 
John  H.  Silsbee, 
Miss  E.  Hodges, 
William  A.  Lander, 
Francis  Peabody, 
Benjamin  Merrill, 
William  Pickman, 
Charles  Hoffman, 
William  H.  Chase. 

Savannah-,  Ga, 

J.  H.  Turner, 
William  King. 

Simcoe,  U.  C, 
Duncan  Campbell. 


256 


LIST  OF  SUBSCRIBERS. 


Sing  Sing,  N.  Y. 
T.  J.  Carmichael. 

Steubenville,  Ohio. 
Benjamin  Tappan,  U.  S.  S. 

St.  Augustine,  Fa. 

Gen.  Joseph  M.  Hernandez, 
J.  G.  Landon. 

St.  Louis,  Missouri. 

Western  Academy  of  Natural  Sciences. 

Taunton,  Mass. 

William  A.  P.  Sproat, 
Taunton  Social  Library. 

Throgg's  Neck,  N.  Y. 

Ogden  Hammond. 

Trenton,  N.  J. 

H.  W.  Green, 
G.  Whitman. 

Uniontown,  Pa.  * 

L.  W.  Stockton. 

Vermilionville,  La. 
A.  Mouton. 

Washington,  D.  C. 


'dte/^sts&r^  M5* Williams,  M.  D. 


A.  A.  Humphreys, 
Col.  W.  W.  Seaton, 
Joseph  Gales,  jr. 
Joseph  H.  Bradley, 
Thomas  Allen, 
Col.  Croghan,  U.  S.  A. 
Treasury  Department,  by  Hon.  Levi  Wood- 
bury, 
Topographical  Bureau,  by  Col.  J.  J.  Abert, 
Lt.  Col.  J.  H.  Hook, 
Richard  Gott, 
Maj.  Gen.  Macomb,  U.  S.  A. 


Wm.  B.  Lewis,  Auditor. 

Capt.  W.  W.  S.  Bliss,  U.  S.  A. 

Dr.  Lawson,  Surgeon  Gen.  U.  S.  A. 

Major  S.  Cooper, 

T.  H.  Crawford,  Commis.  Indian  Affairs. 

Adj.  Gen.  Jones,  U.  S.  A. 

Com.  A.  S.  Wadsworth,  U.  S.  N. 

Major  Turnbull,  U.  S.  A. 

Major  Gen.  Jessup,  U.  S.  A. 

War  Department,  by  Hon.  J.  R.  Poinsett, 

Library  of  Congress, 

Capt.  W.  D.  Fraser,  Cor.  Eng. 

A.  Vail,  War  Dep. 

James  Kearney,  Lt.  Col.  Topog.  Eng. 

R.  S.  Coxe, 

G.  Talcott,  Ordnance  Dep. 

J.  E.  Johnson,  1st  Lieut.  Cor.  Topog.  Eng. 

Capt.  W.  G.  Williams,  Topog.  Bureau, 

Capt.  W.  Hood,  Topog.  Eng. 

Hon.  John  Forsyth,  Sec.  of  State, 

Benj.  F.  Sands,  U.  S.  N. 

Charles  Serusrgs, 

J.  M.  Wise, 

Navy  Department,  by  Hon.  J.  K.  Paulding, 

Hon.  J.  K.  Paulding,  Sec.  of  Navy, 

Dr.  T.  B.  J.  Frye, 

Edward  H.  Fuller, 

Major  L.  Whiting, 

Com.  Morris,  U.  S.  N. 

Hon.  W.  D.  Merrick,  U.  S.  S. 

Major  L.  Thomas,  Asst.  Adj.  Gen. 

Wilmington,  Del. 

Frederick  C.  Hill, 
J.  R.  Latimer. 

Waterborough,  S.  C. 

D.  S.  Henderson. 

Waterloo,  N.  Y. 

J.  S.  Clark. 

West  Point,  N.  Y. 

Z.  J.  D.  Kinsley. 


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